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John Fassel: ‘There was never a question about [Jared Goff’s] toughness, but man, he’s super tough’

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The Rams interim head coach met with the Bay Area media in preparation to Saturday’s game against the 49ers. You can listen to the full interview here.

Los Angeles Rams interim head coach John Fassel did not have a good welcome to the head coaching ranks. On his first game, on primetime, the Rams suffered a drubbing in Seattle against the Seahawks.

The blowout may have been the best part of the day. To round things out, his quarterback got concussed and Seahawks head coach Pete Carol found being up by three scores a perfect time for the Seattle punter to rip 30 yards from the Rams defense on a fake. Sure he went down in a concussion, but damage had been done.

Now the Rams have an easier task: The San Francisco 49ers. The 1-13 49ers absolutely embarrassed the Rams in the season opener, and with each disgusting loss, it only looks worse. The Rams will definitely be looking for vindication, not just from last week, but from getting shut out by one of the worst teams in the league at the start of the season.

Jeff Fisher couldn’t do much, but maybe Fassel will make things interesting. Below is the full transcript of his meeting with the Bay Area Media. He talked about Jared Goff’s toughness in light of his concussion last Thursday. Goff has been a full participant in practice the past two days, which suggests he is asymptomatic and on track to play this Saturday.

What is your quarterback situation looking like for Saturday?

Right now, [Jared] Goff is still in our concussion protocol. We just had a little walk through yesterday. He’s in concussion protocol. They were still looking at Manion and Case as a potential backup should that need arise.

Obviously, Goff played college ball here and people are curious about him. What has his progression been like this year, what has he looked like in the recent games he has played in?

I think he’s gotten more confident. There was never a question about his toughness, but man, he’s super tough. Hangs in the pocket, continues to encourage the running backs, the offensive lines and receivers. Our whole team, we’ve had opportunities that we could cash in on in all positions, all phases, and he’s just got a strong sense of battling back whether it’s physical or it’s mental. Everybody’s been super proud of his development. Really in all phases, not only able to spit out playcalls, but hang in the pocket and go through some tough times and harden him up a little bit. It’s been an unfortunate year, but when we look back on it from his perspective, he’ll be appreciative of going through this to make him strong and hard.

The pressure on young quarterbacks through the years has gotten greater. It used to be Carson Palmer sat for his rookie year and other examples like that. So now, when a rookie quarterback isn’t immediately successful, it’s like. ‘oh jeez, this is a bust,’ there is just so much more pressure. How has he handled that? Because there has been a fair amount of negative press.

Yeah, I get the sense and I haven’t talked to him a ton about it, but he doesn’t pay attention to all of the things said about him outside the building. The way he carries himself in the building, you get the sense that doesn’t bother him. Or if he does hear about it, he’s a strong enough mentally kid and washes it off his back. And there’s been struggles by us across the board so it’s not like he hasn’t produced. It’s kind of everybody needs to step up to help everybody out. But your point is valid. I think we did the right thing with him sitting him down a while and when the time was right we got him in there. It’s been a great experience for him the last eight games he’s been in.

If he’s ready to go could Sean Mannion be the #2? And what’s Mannion been like this year?

Mannion could be the 2. He’s been sharp. He hasn’t dressed I believe since our first game of the season which was against San Francisco. There’s a great quarterback room between Sean and Case and Jared and they kind of all push and prepare each other. I’ve had the opportunity to peek my head in there and see those guys studying, working together, they all kind of help each other out. So, should Sean get that call, I would not be surprised one bit if he’s very prepared and clearly be excited about the opportunity.

You’re in a unique situation, a lot of guys prepare to be a head coach as far as through the interview process. This was kind of thrust, upon you, do you feel ready to do it and have you mentally thought about “Hey, if I’m a head coach, this is what I’m going to do”?

Yeah, I think every assistant or coordinator visualizes at some point what they would do if they were head coach or the messages they would present. Obviously over the last couple months it wasn’t something I had given a lot of thought to because you ingrain yourself so much in your role. The last week and a half I feel ready, I feel like there’s been a ton of support with our coaches and even the players with a tough transition. So you’re kinda just thrown into it real fast, figure it out on the fly. Being in charge of the special teams room, you really are like a head coach in a way. You always got a room full of a lot of guys from a lot of different positions and you’re trying to get a message out where you take a whole bunch of different guys and build them into one unit. I feel prepared, I feel ready, I don’t feel overwhelmed. Part of it is because we have a lot of support here for what we’re trying to do and we make collective decisions.

You’ve been with the Rams now for five years since you left the Raiders. Do you keep an eye on what the Raiders have done? They clinched a playoff spot just the other day. Which is a big deal considering where that franchise has been the last 15 years.

Yeah, I’m glad you asked that, I definitely keep an eye on the Raiders and when they clinched the playoff spot, I was seriously so happy. There’s so many guys still in that building, especially support staff that are still there from when I was there, and just great guys and they earned it, it’s time, and honestly I’m really happy that the Raiders are back in the playoffs where they belong, so hopefully they’ll make a good run of it.