Opening statement: **"Injury report for today: Larry Asante was limited today, he'll be probable. TJ Carrie was limited today, he's probable. Jonathan Dowling did not practice, he's out. Gabe Jackson was limited today, he's questionable. Brian Leonhardt was full today, he's probable. Latavius Murray did not practice today, he's out. Carlos Rogers did not practice, he's out. Neiko Thorpe did not practice, he's out."
Q: With Latavius Murray, did he fail the last test?
Coach Sparano:"He did not pass the last part of it."
Q: Was that today?
Coach Sparano:"I don't need to go into those details, but he's out."
Q: Based on what you saw with Marcel Reece on the final drive of the game last week, do you see him having an increased role?
Coach Sparano: "We'll see. He ran the ball well. He should get carries."
Q: How are you going to decide how the carries go?
Coach Sparano:"Flow and some situational things, maybe."
Q: Last couple of seasons, the Rams front seven has been regarded as one of the best in all of football. What presents the biggest challenge for you?
Coach Sparano:"I would say they have several guys up front that present a great challenge. [Robert] Quinn is an outstanding player. [Aaron] Donald is an outstanding player. Kendall Langford I had, a very good player, I drafted him. There are a bunch of good players in that front there. You have the possibility, from what it sounds like, of getting [Chris] Long back. We're preparing for that. Talking about four first-round picks, there are a lot of good players there in that group. They're active and they fly around. They have a bunch of sacks, so we have a heck of a challenge."
Q: Latavius had been practicing. Did he suffer some kind of setback?
Coach Sparano:"He was limited. He did not practice today, but he was limited in practice for two days. He did not pass the final part of the protocol."
Q: Is there any chance that Rod Streater is activated this week?
Coach Sparano:"We're going to take our time with that and see where we are with it. We'll discuss it when we get upstairs. My feeling with that is not different than with DJ [Hayden] when we took DJ off. You really just have to be completely sure that the guy is ready to go. We'll see how it happens. Right now, I don't know whether or not Chris Long is playing, so they don't need to know if Rod Streater is playing."
Q: Has Rod Streater been working primarily with the scout team?
Coach Sparano:"He's been working a little bit of both."
Q: What have you seen from DJ Hayden since he was activated?
Coach Sparano:"He's been playing really well I think. I think he's getting better and better. I think one of the areas that he's getting better in is his fundamentals. Mentally he did a really good job when he came back of having a good grasp of what was going on, staying involved in the meetings, but again it was a fundamental thing. Every week I think he learns something different out there. I like his – I've seen a great want to out there, ability to compete. A guy that's competing really hard out there. I've seen him play physical. I've seen him start to challenge people. I'm sure there will be bumps in the road as we go along that DJ has to continue to learn from and there are plenty of things that he needs to continue to learn right now as a young player, but when you have those qualities, they're good."
Q: Do you anticipate him staying in the role he's had with TJ Carrie out?
Coach Sparano:"Yeah, I would say so. Yeah."
Q: Who is going to return punts and kicks? Will you move TJ Carrie back to return punts?
Coach Sparano:"We'll see. We have TJ available to us to return punts. [Charles] Woodson is available to return punts. We've got guys, TJ is available to return kicks. We've got some guys that are available to do those things. The good news is he's available."
Q: Going back to the Latavius Murray situation…
Coach Sparano:"There's a specific protocol you go through. You guys are beating the door on this, I get it, but I just told you he's out. He's not playing in the game. I'm being as honest as I can with you. There's a specific protocol and along the lines of the protocol there is an amount that they can do. He has taken that amount, but final process, the final step of the process, that didn't work. At that point, you've got to, 'A,' abide by the rule, 'B,' you've got to make the decision as the coach too."
Q: Do you see the Rams leaning on the run with their current quarterback situation? How do you see that matchup with your improved run defense?
Coach Sparano:"Just knowing some of the coaches there and knowing what they've done right now, I would think that they would certainly try to run the football on us. I think that that's something that they feel good about and people have consistently tried to do that to us. I would imagine there is going to be – you've got to be prepared for everything in this football game. We've already talked about the special teams gadgets and tricks and all the things that they have there. I would think offensively, this team hands the ball to the wide receiver more than any team in the National Football League, handoffs to the wide receiver. Those things are going to happen during the course of the game. You'll get some gadgets that way too, so we've got to be prepared for – I know this sounds like a silly answer, but you've got to be prepared for everything that way. Will they try to throw the football on us? Sure, they're going to try to throw the football on us, but I imagine they try to establish the run first. They have the ball, they possess the ball for about 31 minutes a game, so I would think that that's along the lines of what they're trying to do."