The Los Angels Rams new head coach Sean McVay attended the NFL’s Annual League Meeting, which was held in Phoenix, AZ this year. The league works out the details of the coming seasons and it gives owners, general managers and coaches an opportunity to speak to each other about everything football. It was at this meeting that the owners approved the Raiders move from Oakland to Las Vegas.
For McVay, it was all a learning experience. This was the first time he has attended and he came away from it with a deeper appreciation for the job of head coach.
In a press conference on Wednesday McVay said, “You’re sitting there with (Head Coaches) Mike Tomlin (Steelers) and (Sean Peyton (Saints) and how willing those guys are to share.”
With the fast pace at the Rams facility as he and his staff get ready for training camp, McVay hasn’t had much time to think about being a new — rookie — head coach. “This is probably the first time that it’s starting to kind of set in, what a unique experience it is. You actually slow down a little bit when you come to these, as opposed to how fast things are going back in L.A. and trying to get everything settled and situated. What a unique thing and what a refreshing experience it has been with how willing everyone has been to share.”
Now that he is in the top position to make decisions on the field McVay noticed the subtle differences, although when he was with Washington head coach Jay Gruden let McVay, who had been promoted to offensive coordinator, make some key decisions on the field. “[W]hen Jay gives you the opportunity to call plays in Washington is the first time where you’ve got the accountability to make those decisions, they’re highly scrutinized or you’re fortunate enough, if things work out, where you feel good about it. But, being in a role where you’re involved in some of the personnel where you’re having discussions with Les (Snead, General Manager) on a daily basis about what type of players are we trying to acquire. Then, based on what we did in free agency how that’s going affect the way that we approach the draft. It’s really unique. But, I think it goes back to that communication — we always talk about it, it’s a trademark of any quality organization — and that’s what we’re going to strive to do.”
Executive Vice President of Football Operations and Chief Operating Officer Kevin Demoff said the team was starting to take on McVay’s image. The coach responded, “That’s nice of Kevin. I think they are taking on our image, kind of what we’ve all agreed that we’re looking for.”
McVay also spoke about the coaching influence defensive coordinator Wade Phillips has had on him. “He’s got a subtle way about just what he picks up on and what he notices, just those fundamental things — you quickly realize why he’s such a good coach. I know I’m going to learn a lot from him.”
Offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth is one of the newest Rams. He was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in 2006 (second round) and played his entire career in Cincinnati before coming to Los Angeles. McVay talked about Whitworth’s influence on quarterback Jared Goff. “There’s a certain way that players who are those leaders, where it’s genuine and authentic, their message is going to resonate even different than a coach, just based on the way things are structurally set up. ” He added that the leadership wouldn’t be confined to Goff and the QB’s. “You can say something, but when Andrew Whitworth is talking to Jared, or even a (Todd (Gurley- RB), just offering his bit of advice, I think it’s received in a different way, because they’re actually the ones that are going to battle in and out of the huddle with him. I think that’s what his contribution will be and I definitely expect him to do the same.”
Now that he is the head coach McVay will need to delegate some (or most) of the coaching duties on offense. He said, ““I’ll be involved in all those meetings where you’re installing the offense, you’re talking about some of the core things, showing some of the tape. And then I think it is important, when you break up individually, to let the coaches coach. That’s something that I really took from Jay (Gruden), is his ability to empower his assistants, trust them to do their job and that’s what you want to be able to do.”
Rams fans are looking for a better season in 2017. Sean McVay has 16 games to prove he’s the right choice to lead this team.
To read the entire transcript from the press conference, click here.
Photos by Claudia Gestro unless otherwise noted.
Top photo: Rams head coach Sean McVay