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Sean McVay’s intensity gets Rams’ attention as offseason work begins

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  • Sean McVay’s intensity gets Rams’ attention as offseason work begins

    Sean McVay’s intensity gets Rams’ attention as offseason work begins
    By RICH HAMMOND | [email protected] | Orange County Register
    PUBLISHED: April 10, 2017 at 4:32 pm | UPDATED: April 10, 2017 at 4:34 pm

    THOUSAND OAKS — It’s a tradition on almost every team. Show up to camp, collect your T-shirt with the catchy, coach-speak slogan on the back and attempt to minimize the eye-rolling.

    The intensity in new coach Sean McVay’s eyes and voice, though, made it impossible to scoff at the “We Not Me” message that Rams players, coaches and staff members wore on blue, cotton tees Monday as the team opened the first phase of its two-month offseason workout program at Cal Lutheran.

    “Everyone was at full attention,” McVay said. “Guys were locked in. They were engaged. They were ready to go. I think it was definitely the way we wanted it to come off, as a coaching staff. Right now, it’s about building relationships with these guys.”

    It’s time for a culture change. Previous coach Jeff Fisher largely took a laissez-faire attitude that basically told players to have fun and be loose, as long as they prepared and came ready to play on Sunday. That level of trust made Fisher popular among players, but it also produced a 31-45-1 record from 2012-16.

    It’s far too early to fete McVay, the youngest coach in NFL history when the Rams hired him in January, but one thing is already clear: McVay is no Fisher. McVay’s body language suggests perpetual intensity, and that seemed to come across to players during their first formal meeting with McVay on Monday.

    “I think there’s some really good, new energy here,” quarterback Jared Goff said. “Coach McVay and the rest of his staff have done a great job exuding that energy and really letting us feel it. I think it’s really a fresh start for a lot of people. I think it’s a really good feeling. Just freshness is the best way to describe it.”

    There’s plenty of work ahead. This phase of offseason work, which will continue for two weeks, will focus mostly on off-field strength and conditioning. Per NFL rules, practice-like simulations aren’t allowed until next month, but Monday represented an important moment for McVay and the Rams.

    For the first time, McVay could transition from handshakes and salutations to football talk. He could distribute playbooks and talk about offensive and defensive systems and possible position changes.

    Most of all, he could make a good first impression on the players, and vice versa. That seems to have been a success. These offseason workouts are optional, but McVay said all players attended Monday, just more than three months after they completed a dismal 4-12 season.

    “Everybody came with a fresh start, a different mindset,” defensive tackle Aaron Donald said. “We left with a real bad taste in our mouths last year; a horrible taste. I’m pretty sure everybody is ready, and I’m ready too. So, we’re going to push each other, hold everybody accountable and try to get ready, through this process, to get ready for the upcoming games.”

    Donald, the Rams’ most dominant player, said he won’t have any problem transitioning to the versatile 3-4 system of new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, while Goff and running back Todd Gurley expressed optimism about McVay’s offensive scheme, which presumably will look similar to the one he ran in Washington as offensive coordinator.

    A year ago, Goff had yet to be drafted No. 1 overall by the Rams, a move that started a bumpy eight-month ride. Goff went from third-string quarterback to backup to starter, then got battered behind a subpar Rams offensive line and failed to win a game in 2016.

    Goff already has been at work, and spent time in Newport Beach with throw-mechanics gurus Tom House and Justin Dedeaux. Goff said he already has a “good feel” for McVay’s offense, even though he has yet to run a live snap of it.

    “From what I know, and from what I’ve seen, it’s obviously a great offense,” Goff said. “And from what I’ve heard, I’ve talked to quarterbacks around the league and coaches and what not, and I haven’t heard a bad word about it. So, I’m excited for it.”

    Goff’s position is secure, but other Rams could be on the move.

    McVay confirmed that Lamarcus Joyner, the Rams’ primary slot cornerback, could move to safety to replace T.J. McDonald. The Rams last week signed free-agent cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman, who is considered a slot specialist.

    Changes also are coming to the offensive line, McVay said. As previously noted, former left tackle Greg Robinson will get a chance to start at right tackle, and the former holder of that spot, Rob Havenstein, will train at right guard. McVay said newly signed center John Sullivan, who has a recent history of back problems, is healthy.

    Also, defensive lineman Ethan Westbrooks signed his restricted-free-agent offer sheet Monday and will return to the Rams on a one-year contract.

  • #2
    Previous coach Jeff Fisher largely took a laissez-faire attitude that basically told players to have fun and be loose, as long as they prepared and came ready to play on Sunday. That level of trust made Fisher popular among players, but it also produced a 31-45-1 record from 2012-16.
    Yep, the laissez-faire approach was a joke, as were the results. Maybe I'm old school, but I've been advocating a more strict atmosphere for some time, and I hope McVay keeps his foot on the intensity gas pedal, and whips this team into shape.The more I hear about McVay, the more I like him.


    • #3
      McVay is an impressive young fella. You can see he's smart, articulate, energetic, positive, approachable, etc. His energy is obviously a big component of what he does. He's a natural, talented, coach, and he was born into a nest of coaches. So, he's grown up with it. Very interesting choice by the front office. It will certainly be interesting to watch it play out. As we bask in the warmth of McVay's glow, it will all feel great, until the games start. Of course, that is when we'll see what McVay can do. I'm optimistic about this kind of energetic, positive, organized, professional approach to the job.


      • #4
        I expected nothing less than the positives that seem to come from the first day of this 2 mini workout camp! Very cool that they could give the guys their play books to begin learning the new systems and approaches! I love that they let the guys know about the position changes already every one now knows where they are headed to play and what is expected from them! Our new coaching staff is getting the machine greased up and ready to rumble down the road! One of the most exciting off seasons' in Rams history and now we begin to mesh this team into a mean machine! lol
        You know the fact that our young coach got a guy like Whit a consumate pro and older player to not only sign here but move his family out and be as excited as the young guys speaks huge volumes about our Coach and the staff he has put together! Sometimes I am just kinda shocked and in awe of the young coach and how well he is doing everything. I am sure he is leaning on all the back ground guidance and also the older experianced coaches he has on the staff. Lots of people can learn stuff in school and get degrees and be somewhat intelligent but to know how to imbue that with wisdom is rare indeed. I think Sean is that kinda guy or so it seems!
        Last edited by Randart; -04-11-2017, 02:15 AM.


        • #5
          Seems like the head coach is going to lead by example when it comes to getting in the gym and getting ready to play!


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