THOUSAND OAKS — During Tuesday’s video call, Rams coach Sean McVay was asked if the upcoming season would be the biggest challenge of his career and “how in the hell” was he “going to pull this off?”
“I guess you gotta just watch,” McVay said of a squad with severe churn and a sudden paucity of experience.
“It’s going to be a great challenge but every single year is a challenge,” McVay continued. “That’s why you get into the NFL to coach, because you get an opportunity to work with special people, special coaches and to try to be able to reach and realize their highest potential. I feel really good about the rapport that’s been established with this group.”
That rapport was called into some question, however, by Kelly Stafford, the wife of Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford, on her podcast last week. She described a level of uneasiness from her husband, whom she said had the Rams’ equipment staff prepare resources to help him familiarize himself with the multitude of fresh faces on the Rams’ roster, most of whom were staring at their phones and some of whom addressed the 35-year-old Stafford as “sir” against his wishes.
“I’m not concerned because I think, if you know Kelly, I took that as more of a joke at the old man,” McVay said of the comments. “And I’ll be honest, there was a couple throws that he made during training camp where I wanted to say ‘Yes, sir!’ to him as well.”
Kelly Stafford did not respond to a message sent through social media seeking her response.
McVay went on to call his quarterback “one of the most emotionally intelligent and authentically good people” that he knew and said that connecting with teammates came effortlessly to Stafford. He also lauded the mobility work Stafford had done, which included tennis, prompting McVay to compare his nimble feet in the pocket to those of top players Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic.
Of course, the primary purpose of Tuesday’s session was to address the Rams’ trimming their roster to 53 players ahead of their season opener on Sept. 10 in Seattle.
McVay said at least one roster spot would open up ahead of Week 1, with rookie linebacker Oshaun Mathis destined for IR with a knee injury. That slot will likely be used to fill the current vacancy at kicker. McVay also alluded to a clear plan to acquire a kicker, which he confirmed the team would do prior to its opener, but that the plan was not yet executable so it had to remain “in house.”
Perhaps the biggest name in the final round of cuts was that of second-year offensive lineman Logan Bruss. Bruss sustained two torn ligaments in his knee last season and was hindered by less serious injuries after his recovery, as well as a bit of oscillation between guard and tackle. Parting with a 2022 third-rounder for nothing in return was a tough pill to swallow, but the acquisition of former Pittsburgh Steeler Kevin Dotson on Sunday effectively made Bruss disposable, though McVay did not close the door on extending the franchise-player relationship on Tuesday.
“We felt like the 10 (offensive linemen) we kept did a good job of earning those spots. Obviously, with Kevin Dotson being a late add, he has a body of work and a resumé,” McVay said. “Logan is somebody that we still want to be able to continue to work with Hopefully we’ll be able to get him back on the practice squad.”
Despite poor results on defense across three exhibition games in which the Rams surrendered more than 36 points per contest, McVay said he was encouraged by the way his rooms on defense progressed, including edge rushers like the emergent Michael Hoecht and rookie Byron Young, as well as a fledgling group in the secondary.
Under center, McVay said the team had explored options to get a third quarterback into its mix, potentially using the option to “flex up” a third signal-caller from its practice squad behind Stafford and rookie Stetson Bennett.
Overall, however, for the first time since he took over the team in 2017, McVay’s language and expectations appeared tempered, another beacon that the Rams have gone from perennial contender to defending champion to rebuilding franchise in short order. Yet the preseason showed only the briefest glimpses of the real Rams roster, which will take the field the Sunday after next against the Seahawks.
“We’ll see where the hell we’re at but I’m looking forward to going out and shooting our shot,” McVay said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by PostX News and is published from a syndicated feed.)