Sean McVay readies Rams for demands of short turnaround
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) Sean McVay spent plenty of nights sleeping in his office as an assistant in Washington. With a Thursday night game at San Francisco just days away, the first-year coach of the Los Angeles Rams might have to use the team’s complex at Cal Lutheran as his bedroom for the first time this week.
It will depend on how quickly McVay and his staff can get the game plan in place, but there is one good incentive to get that work wrapped up as soon as possible.
”I didn’t have a nice spread-out couch like I did in Washington, so it was a little bit easier to sleep there,” McVay said.
The truncated schedule was already evident Monday, with McVay canceling practice. Instead, players reviewed film from Los Angeles’ 27-20 loss to Washington the previous day, worked out and went through rehab. Multiple walkthrough sessions Tuesday will try to take the place of a normal work week for players, while coaches try not to overtax them mentally.
”Figure out what they are comfortable with, but also what are some things that attack the offense or defensive scheme,” McVay said. ”It’s a balance that we have to do a good job of as coaches and trying to help our players so that Thursday is as seamless as possible on a short week knowing all the factors that are involved.”
There is also the physical aspect of the short week. McVay said cornerback Kayvon Webster (shoulder), tight end Gerald Everett (thigh) and running back Malcolm Brown (hamstring) would not have been able to practice. Troy Hill will be available after serving a two-game suspension for a violation of the NFL’s substance abuse policy, which would offer another option in the secondary if Webster misses his second straight game.
Playing a Thursday game so early in the season could actually be a break for the more senior Rams, McVay said. While they might need more time to recover from the wear and tear of a game later in the season, they should still be fresh this early in the campaign.
”The thing that you do feel fortunate is at least this is Week 3, not Week 13 where you’re having to do that,” McVay said. ”From that standpoint, it does make it a little bit easier knowing you only have really two full games of that pounding on their bodies. But it is a tough challenge, but it is something that everybody in this league has to do and for us it’s this week.”
However, there is one prominent Ram still adjusting to life in pads. Star defensive tackle Aaron Donald missed training camp and the season opener because of a contract holdout, and played 68 percent of the defensive snaps against Washington.
Donald, who had two tackles with one tackle for loss, came out of the game without any setbacks. McVay expects the disruptive All-Pro to play against the 49ers without any limitations.
”You could see his get-off and some of the things that make Aaron rare did show up,” McVay said. ”Like anything else, being able to get back into a rhythm for him I think we’ll be important. I think we’ll see him get more and more comfortable as the season progresses.”
That should be a boon to a defense that allowed Washington to run for 229 yards. Most of that damage came in the first half, including a 61-yard touchdown run on a draw.
”Well, I think we can get better as a whole,” McVay said. ”Obviously, Aaron adds to that. I know the standards that we have, that they have for themselves. That wasn’t up to par.”