Rams’ Sean McVay reveals key adjustment he made after underachieving last season
The Los Angeles Rams followed up their appearance in Super Bowl LIII with a disappointing 2019 campaign, finishing 9-7 and third place in the NFC West.
This season has been better. Through five weeks, the Rams are 4-1 and rank fourth in overall DVOA, according to Football Outsiders.
The turnaround can be partially attributed to a key adjustment Rams head coach Sean McVay made to his own approach: micromanage less, and delegate more responsibilities to his coordinators and assistant coaches.
The Rams hired new coordinators across the board for 2020. Kevin O’Connell, who spent 2019 with Washington, is now the offensive coordinator. Brandon Staley, who worked as a Denver Broncos assistant in 2019, is now the DC. McVay has relied on them — along with new special teams coordinator John Bonamego — to handle more of the Xs and Os, which allowed McVay to focus on the bigger picture.
McVay still calls the plays on offense, though he’s devoting more time to the other phases of the game.
“What I wanted to try to do is just be more present with our team,” McVay said, via Lindsey Thiry of ESPN. “Be around defense, special teams and the offense a little bit more. Be around the staff members a little bit more.”
The 35-year old O’Connell is managing Rams quarterback Jared Goff’s snaps while Staley, 37, is calling the defense in ways that emphasize the talents of Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey.
“Adding those guys has been huge in terms of being able to just kind of step back. That’s definitely something that I’m trying to do.”
McVay became the youngest head coach in modern NFL history when he was hired at age 30. He turned a 4-12 team into a contender in two seasons, but after consecutive division titles, the Rams missed the playoffs in 2019 thanks to a Week 16 loss to the San Francisco 49ers.
On Sunday, the Rams will get another shot at the 49ers, who are following in L.A.’s footsteps as the latest NFC champion to suffer a disappointing follow-up season — though Kyle Shanahan can largely blame injuries more so than his coaching practices.