— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) August 14, 2017
The Los Angeles Rams beat the Dallas Cowboys in their preseason opener but Head Coach Sean McVay says the team is still figuring things out.
No team should be expected to be at 100 percent after just one preseason game and certainly not a team learning a new system under a first-year head coach. In the Rams’ media availability presser Sunday, Head Coach Sean McVay expressed that exact sentiment.
He told reporters that the flow of his first game as a head coach was ‘comfortable’ there are points of emphasis he needs to work on in preparation for the Oakland Raiders next week.
“I think the biggest thing is anytime, especially when you are as involved in the offense as I am, you’re always going to want a couple decisions back, you’re always going to wish you put the players in better situations and that’s something that I’m sure I’ll feel every single week. But, I thought in terms of the flow of the game, I thought it was very comfortable…There’s a couple things that we’ll change going into next week, but I feel very good about it for the most part.”
A big reason McVay feels so comfortable is his rapport with offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur who he worked with in Washington. McVay told reporters that because he is so involved with the offense he communicates with LaFleur the most and that their dialogue is ‘good’.
“Yeah, it’s a good dialogue. (Offensive coordinator) Matt (LaFleur) and I have worked together in Washington and we’ve got a great rapport and a relationship, so Matt’s the guy that I would say I am communicating with the most, especially with the coaches that are up top.”
And communication has been the key to McVay’s seamless transition so far as a head coach. It’s not just LaFleur that he is in constant contact with as he says he communicates with all the coaches via headsets worn during the games.
Because McVay is communicating with all of his coaches, at all times, that’s one of the things he has to get the hang of.
“The nice thing is, when you have those headsets everybody’s on the line and there’s dialogue that can exist between myself and (quarterbacks) Coach (Greg) Olson, (tight ends) Coach (Shane) Waldron, (offensive line) Coach (Aaron) Kromer, (wide receivers) Coach (Eric) Yarber, so we’re all kind of in constant communication while being mindful of, ‘Here’s how we want to attack this drive.’ But, in between those series is where I’ll have to figure that out because there is a lot of communication that goes on that I might be on the defensive side of the ball with. Just kind of figuring out that dynamic is going to be something that will be really beneficial to figure out during these next three weeks of the preseason.”
When asked about Gurley’s touches McVay told the media that it’s important to get him going so he is at his best for the regular season opener against the Indianapolis Colts, but also so he can feel comfortable in a new offense.
“The plan is right now for our starters to get progressive work through the third preseason game and (RB) Todd (Gurley’s) a very important part of what we want to do. I also think this preseason offers us a unique opportunity to get him some touches, being mindful of that we do want to allow him to be at his best by the time we play the Colts. But, especially being in a new system and just for the overall continuity of our offense, I think it’s important for him to be out there with those guys and that’s the goal and that’s the plan right now.”
When it came to Watkins McVay mostly showed excitement to get him going and made it very clear that he’s at 100 percent physically and ready to run with L.A.
“He is full-go. He checked off, he got all that stuff cleared, so he’s full-go…We’ll monitor his workload, but in terms of just his pace and things like that, he’s full speed, fully released and he’s healthy.”
It’s no surprise that the Rams still have a lot to work out as a coaching staff and as an offense. Outside of communication and touches for their offensive stars, they also need to place an emphasis on ball security. In L.A.’s preseason opener against Dallas, the Rams fumbled the ball fives times. They were lucky enough to recover four of them, but McVay knows they need to clean that up moving forward.
L.A. will play the Raiders in Oakland next week and hope to have that issue worked out. We’ll also get to see Watkins in action on his new team to get an idea of how the Rams will use him in the offense. As for Gurley, Week 2 of the preseason he should get a few more touches than he did Week 1 as L.A. continues to bring him along.