Defense dominates, McVay gets extension

IRVINE, Calif. (News4usonline) – The Los Angeles Rams had a spirited practice on their next to last day of training camp at UC Irvine. The team’s defensive unit had a pretty good day, coming away with several interceptions and beginning to look prime-ready for their encounter with the Buffalo Bills in the regular season opener on Sept. 8.

“The defense has done some really good things. I was very pleased with them,” Rams head coach Sean McVay said after practice. “They’re really playing as one. You could see our full arsenal is out there today with Jalen (Ramsey) getting as many snaps, (DT) Aaron (Donald) coming off an off day (LB) Bobby (Wagner) continuing to lead the way. The only guy we were missing was (OLB) (Leonard) Flo (Floyd). We’re continuing to be smart with him, but I really like where we’re at defensively and want to start to see some increased urgency offensively.”

With a couple of picks, the ball-hawking Ramsey looked like himself out there on the field. McVay was impressed with what he saw out of his shutdown cornerback. 

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Los Angeles Rams linebacker Bobby Wagner (45) making plays at a training camp practice at UC Irvine on Aug. 8, 2022. Photo by Mark Hammond/News4usonline

“It was great,” McVay remarked. “It was awesome to be able to have him out here, really pleased with just his workload increasing. Obviously, you guys felt his presence out here, so we looked pretty sharp defensively today.”

As splendid as the team’s defensive unit played and looked, offensively, there was some sputtering going on with the multiple turnovers and penalties. With training camp being on Day 14, it’s easy to assume that the doldrums of summer may have crept in.

McVay isn’t buying it and wouldn’t let his offensive unit off the hook that easy.

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Training camp practices for the Los Angeles Rams have been highly competitive. Two Rams players get physical during practice at UC Irvine on Aug. 8, 2022. Photo by Mark Hammond/News4usonline

“I think that’s an easy excuse,” said McVay. “I wouldn’t let us have that from an offensive perspective. We got to take better care of the football. We’ve got to be able to do the things that are in alignment with what good teams do. Even some of the procedural issues, pre-snap penalties. We’re in a situation where we’re playing for a touchdown, you’re on the seven, you jump offsides, moves it back to the 12. Your chances of being able to punch it in significantly decrease. You can’t have those kinds of things from players that have played a lot of football.”

Evaluating how the team practiced was not the only news to come out of Rams camp this day. McVay acknowledged he and the team had reached a deal on a new contract. The Rams have been busy in the offseason, signing wide receiver Cooper Kupp, defensive tackle Aaron Donald, and quarterback Matthew Stafford to contract extensions.

Fresh off winning Super Bowl LVI, those moves by the team were anticipated and eventually came to fruition. With their core players extended, McVay inking a new deal seemed only natural.     

“I feel good,” McVay. “It was kind of always a really good dialogue that existed. These things, they take time, but I think it is important. Out of respect for the process, we wanted it to be able to be announced when both (General Manager) Les (Snead) and I got done because of the partnership and I think it’s only gotten better as we go, but that’s kind of where it’s at right now.” 

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Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay speaking to reporters after training camp practice at UC Irvine on Aug. 8, 2022. Photo by Mark Hammond/News4usonline

He said was hesitant to talk about his contract situation out of respect for seeing team general manager Les Snead get his deal resolved. 

“Les (Snead) and I have always been a pair,” said McVay. “We wanted to be able to kind of announce that when both of us got done, mine is done. Les is in the process of that. But I think in respect to wanting to show the partnership for us, I said you guys will know when we both get done and that was kind of how I had addressed it. But, since it comes up again, it is something that we’ve been taking care of. But it is very important for Les and I to have that represented as we’re a partnership and a pair.”