McVay’s improvision and energy light Rams’ fire

Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay covering one of his wide receivers as a defensive back during training camp. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline

IRVINE, CA-Several days into the Los Angeles Rams training camp, the energy on the football field on the campus of UC Irvine can be felt on the sidelines. The pace of the practice is swift with crisp execution.

There is little wasted motion during the two-hour afternoon practice on Monday, July 31. Second-year quarterback Jared Goff and the other quarterbacks on the roster go through throwing drills with precision.

The defensive unit gets revved up as 7-on-7 competition gives players the opportunity to either hold on to their roster spot or earn one. Running back Todd Gurley looks goood. But the most impressive individual out on the field is head coach Sean McVay.

Members of the Los Angeles Rams going throrugh the rigors of training camp. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline

McVay, the youngest head coach in the NFL, is all over the place, barking out instructions and acting as an illusionary defensive back as his wide receivers sprint up and down the field. McVay did an admirable job covering his wideouts. But he also had a slight advantage over his guys.  

“Well, smart exit angles,” McVay said. “That is about it. If I know the route beforehand I can run to the spot, so it’s very clear why I am a coach.”

Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley runs away from defenders during training camp practice on Monday, July 31, 2017. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline

McVay didn’t stop his hands-on activities with his wide receivers. He also had some fun going after his quarterbacks as a speed pass rusher.  

“It is just fun to move around out here with the guys and kind of be interactive and try to give them a look to where you are just trying to match and have somebody just running with you, but the guys have fun with it,” McVay said.

That energy seems to be contagious. Watching McVay move around effortlessly in calling out plays for his offensive unit, it is easy to see why his players roam the football field with high-octane enthusiasm. That just might be the key to the team’s success this season.

Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff prepares to throw the football to one of his wide receivers at training camp practice. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline

Success is something the Rams didn’t experience much of in their initial season in Los Angeles. The Rams recorded a 4-12 mark last year. More importantly, Los Angeles posted a 3-9 NFC West conference record. Goff and Gurley have the keys to the Rams offense. But the engine that could be critical in jump-starting the team’s fortunes in 2017, lie in the hands and feet of the Rams receivers.

The group, which includes veterans Tavon Austin and Pharoh Cooper, don’t have a player on the roster older than 27.

“They are doing good,” said McVay. “I think the challenge for us right now, really as a whole offensively is stringing together consecutive days. It’s, can you find a way to have a good day and then string another one together. Consistency we all always talk about, is the truest measure of performance and once you are able to do that consistently, that is when you feel like you’ve got the chance to be pretty good. But we’ve got a lot of young players, they are eager to learn – I think they have done a nice job. We’ve got a lot of room to grow and we need to do it fast if we are going to be up to the level that we expect to be by the time the season starts.”              

Dennis J. Freeman
About Dennis J. Freeman 1379 Articles
Dennis is a news and sports photojournalist. Dennis has covered and written on issues such as civil rights, education, politics, and social justice. His work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Daily Breeze, Daily Press, Los Angeles Wave, Los Angeles Sentinel, and other media outlets. Dennis is currently the editor and publisher of News4usonline. He covers the NFL, NBA, Major League Baseball, and NCAA. Dennis is an alum and graduate of Howard University.