The Falcons (1-5) and the Rams (3-3) are set to meet at 1 p.m. Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Here’s what Rams coach Sean McVay, the former Marist quarterback, had to say in a conference call on Wednesday:
Q: How do you see Jalen Ramsey fitting in with the Rams?
A: “He’s an exciting player with a great and unique skill set. We are really looking forward to getting him in our building and getting to know him and figure out kind of the best way to fit him into our plans defensively whether if that means he goes immediately or if that takes some time will remain to be seen. It would be a good week to have him with all of the weapons (the Falcons) have.”
Q: Confident that coach Wade Phillips will reconfigure the defense with Ramsey and the other new players?
A: “Yeah, I’m confident in our coaching staff as a whole. We’ve got some good guys that are ready to step up. We’ll certainly need him with (cornerback) Aqib (Talib) going on IR, (safety) John Johnson III going on IR and (cornerback) Marcus Peters going to Baltimore. But being able to bring Jalen in here and offering an opportunity to some of our younger players to take on an increased role, I think will be helpful. It’s a challenge that we are looking forward to. I can’t wait to see these guys compete.”
Q: What’s the latest on Rams running back Todd Gurley?
A: “He’s feeling good. He’s making good progress each day. He’s going to participate (in practice). We just had a walk through and then we are getting ready to have practice in a little bit. He’s going to participate in a limited fashion. I think he’s on a good pace to hopefully be able to play on Sunday.”
Q: What do you see when you look at the Falcons? A lot of football people are stunned by the 1-5 record.
A: “I think the record is misleading. I think when you look at them. It’s a really, really good football team. They’ve had some unfortunate breaks toward the end of games and they’ve played some tough teams. When you look at the offense (you see) a lot of firepower. Anytime you have an MVP player leading the way in Matt Ryan. Then you’ve got Julio (Jones). (Austin) Hooper is playing unbelievable. I think (Calvin) Ridley and (Mohamed) Sanu are two of the most underrated receivers in this league. I’ve always been impressed with what Devonta (Freeman) does. Defensively, a lot of speed. A lot of sound play on just all three levels. I think you see (Takk) McKinley doing a great job. You certainly feel Grady (Jarrett) and then Deion Jones, I think is one of the best linebackers in this league with his ability to play sideline to sideline. You see good instinctual players on the back end as well.”
Q: How did San Francisco hold the Rams to 78 yards passing last week?
A: “They did a great job and we didn’t execute very well. We make no excuses about it. We just have to do better. I think it’s about early down efficiency. Not putting yourself in third-and-longs and we kind of did that. We shot ourselves in the foot. We can’t afford to do that against a good team this week.”
Q: How’s defensive tackle Aaron Donald playing for you?
A: “He’s doing great. He’s doing very well. He’s obviously a guy that gets a lot of attention week-in and week-out, but he still finds a way to produce. He’s really a productive player whether it be the run or the pass. He just continues to get better. He’s really hard on himself where he just focuses on daily improvement. When you’ve got your best players like that, that’s a good example to utilize everyday for what it looks like to do right.”
Q: How’s veteran safety Eric Weddle playing for you on the back end of the defense?
A: “I’ve been incredibly impressed with his leadership and overall knowledge. He really knows the game from the 22-man perspective. The command that he has I think gives the guys that play around him confidence...He’s still got great movement. He’s tough. He’s got great ball skills. He’s been really big bright spot for our defense this year.”
Q: How does center Austin Corbett fit in with the Rams?
A: “We’ll get him in the building. We’ll see. We’ll take our time a little bit more with Austin and figure out, OK what’s the best position to put him at. He’s a guy that we liked coming out of the Nevada. We went and worked him out and felt really good. Then when Cleveland took him last year in the second round, he was a guy that we had our eye on and to be able to get him in our building we’re excited to just see his development and that will be something that’s an ongoing process.”
Q: The Falcons say they are playing their zones and are close to getting them working. Do you see that on film?
A: “It’s such a fine line week-in and week-out. The one ball that got over the top, they were kind of running a little boot leg and Kyler Murray launches a perfect throw right over the top and kind of hit a non-normal route off of a post-action type deal. It was a great throw and catch, but I know it’s something that coach (Dan) Quinn would expect to be able to prevent those. You can see, in football there is such a small difference in the plays that you make and the ones that you don’t. When you look at that play in particular, it was probably six inches away from getting batted down by (Damontae) Kazee.”
Q: How do you hope spending a week in Atlanta before going to London will help the Rams?
A: “It’s really at a good time. I think it’s important to be able to get away and be able to kind of bound together. Really because we are going to London, we wanted to be able to go later on in the week rather than spend the week out there. It was something that we’d done a couple of years prior. We went to Jacksonville and stayed in Jacksonville. Being able to play an East Coast time game and be able closer and adjusted to what that body clock will be when we are playing in London. Being in Atlanta is a nice place and then we’ll practice over at Georgia Tech for a couple of days.”
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