It’s almost halfway into the Rams season – and this was a new experience for Sean McVay.
The once idolized Coach sophomore is two games under .500 for first time. Injuries have decimated the offensive line. The conflict with young running back Cam Akers surfaced. And now star quarterback Matthew Stafford could be sidelined with a concussion.
McVay, 36, has dealt with more issues this season than all previous seasons combined, he said.
“Man,” he said, “this has gotten you so drained, you’ll feel better if you tackle it the right way.”
So the one-time prodigy preaches taking on challenges with “a hard-working mindset.” And approach them with enthusiasm.
“What the hell else can you do?” he said.
McVay started the season with a 55-26 record in regular-season games, a 7-3 record in the playoffs. The Rams made two Super Bowl appearances and last season won Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium.
But trying to become the first team to repeat the title in almost two decades hasn’t gone as planned.
The Rams go into Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals with a 3-5 record. They are about to be eliminated from the playoffs.
McVay is experiencing for the first time what most NFL coaches eventually do, said defensive coordinator Raheem Morris.
“Don’t tell him I said that — he’s extremely spoiled,” Morris jokingly said Thursday. “We’ve won a lot out here in LA. … This is the greatest need he had.
“It’s a great opportunity for you to have this coaching talk and put those things into action.”
McVay will be tested if Stafford is not cleared to play on Sunday. The 14-year pro is on concussion protocol and his status for the NFC West game against the Cardinals at SoFi Stadium needs to be determined.
Stafford did not train on Thursday. He watched as John Wolford and Bryce Perkins warmed up and performed individual exercises during the reporter-open portion of the workout.
Wolford has experience playing the Cardinals. In 2020, he started in place of the injured Jared Goff in a season-ending win that secured him a playoff berth.
The 6-foot-1, 200-pound Wolford struggled for yardage on several games.
“He gives you an element to be able to move the chains a little bit with his feet,” said offensive coordinator Liam Coen, adding, “Matthew’s the guy, but [Wolford] gives you the opportunity to win with a guy who you know has played and done this situation before.
Perkins, 6-3 and 214 pounds, has only played in preseason games but has also shown an ability to play with his running ability.
Would the Rams consider using Perkins in situations against the Cardinals?
“I’m not really sure if that’s what we’re really aiming for at the moment,” Coen said.
Regardless, a Rams defense that’s played well for most of the season will carry an even heavier burden when Stafford isn’t in the lineup.
Wouldn’t Stafford put more pressure on the Rams’ defense?
“Let me see,” Morris said, “take out the best quarterback I’ve ever been a part of in my life and does that make a difference?”
“You know, I have a lot of faith in Wolford.”
The embattled offensive line could get some reinforcements if Coleman Shelton is activated from injured reserve. Additionally, Akers and Darrell Henderson could be joined in the backfield by rookie Kyren Williams, who is expected to be activated from injured reserve.
A loss to the Cardinals could knock the Rams out of playoff contention. A win would end a two-game losing streak and potentially reverse the trend.
“Sometimes you have to be able to rely on the people you love and care about to maintain that resilience and that mindset, and if we do that, I think it will result in some things going in a better direction.” .” McVay said. “What does that look like exactly? I do not know.
“I’m just going to keep trying to attack these things properly every day.”
Center Brian Allen (knee) was limited. Offensive tackle Alaric Jackson (knee), running back Malcolm Brown (hamstring), defensive lineman Greg Gaines (elbow), linebacker Travin Howard (hip) and cornerback Robert Rochell (illness) were not training. … Tight end Kendall Blanton, who was waived on Tuesday, was added to the practice squad.
https://www.latimes.com/sports/rams/story/2022-11-10/raheem-morris-rams-sean-mcvay-adversity Raheem Morris on Rams’ McVay: ‘This is most adversity he’s had’