The Los Angeles Rams find themselves on yet another potent Super Bowl run. And so far in 2021, things are shaping up to be the team’s best chance in twenty years at hoisting the elusive Lombardi trophy. But honestly speaking, many football fans and NFL experts have labeled each year since their 2018 big show appearance versus the then Tom Brady-led New England as a Super Bowl or bust year. What’s different about 2021?
Several things. However, two are world-changing for the Rams and allow Sean McVay the freedom to focus solely on doing whatever it takes to secure a championship few players deserve more than the core of his team.
Why Sean McVay, Rams are Focused on Winning Super Bowl 56
Aaron Donald, Jalen Ramsey, and Matthew Stafford. Three superstars without question. Not many of 31 other teams can say they have that number of true top-tier players on their roster. That in itself does not constitute a championship, of course. In fact, we need only go back one season to determine whether or not only one man can make a huge difference.
Definitely, yes. One man can but do you truly believe Tom Brady single-handedly won that last Super Bowl? Do you still believe that the coach in New England is great enough to win with just any quarterback?
Sure, this is and will always be a team sport. But how pieces mesh together should never be ignored. And the truth is, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won it all last season because of both luck and team collaboration. Luck you say? Certainly. There’s a reason Andy Reid and staff revamped the Kansas City Chiefs offensive line during the offseason. The timing of the reason behind that can certainly fall under luck. The Bucs most definitely took advantage of that timing and got…well, at least moderately lucky.
The Rams have done nearly all that can be done in the area of team collaboration. Preparation is the Sean McVay way. Luck is great should it arrive in a timely manner but McVay’s not including it in any weekly game plans. Note that once he learns something someone becomes expendable (special teams coaches, defensive and offensive coordinators…)
So You Think You Have Sean McVay All Figured Out
With apologies to Dick Vermeil, the thing that’s likely to ultimately power McVay to the top of the Los Angeles Rams All-time Best Head Coaches list — with one Super Bowl victory minimum — is his ability to observe, adapt and adjust. Not only does he learn from his mistakes but he admits his mistakes and changes with the times. He’s not too closed-minded or proud of success. He doesn’t defer blame or dodge responsibilities to his players. Yes, he has his own way of doing things but infuses outside knowledge and talent. All seen within his unique eye, categorized and filed away with that beautiful NFL mind.
Vermeil was once young and bright as well. He became a great motivating head coach. The NFL has since evolved schematically and today’s coaches should be master strategists almost walking into an interview. McVay, however, is tomorrow’s prototype and even he himself has yet to figure it all out. Spoiler Alert: It’s doubtful the man wants to know it all over consistent learning. That being said, tomorrow’s coach may have today’s Rams in a position to improve as the season goes on. Not the team you think they are today.
How Team’s Ranked Per Season Under McVay
There’s notable improvement annually (especially with experience with Washington) for the most part until Goff appears to plateau. If you haven’t noticed, horizontal isn’t McVay’s cup of tea.
Think about what might have inspired recent changes. McVay has seen several assistant coaches leave for greener pastures, moderately successful so far. Additionally, there is a friendly but serious competition going on among other young new era coaches like Kyle Shanahan in San Francisco. Friends like Kliff Kingsbury in Arizona, less experienced but capable. There’s pressure and needed challenges from bold moves in recent years. Innovative ideas and ultra-talented players are suddenly abundant in the NFC West.
I don’t believe Sean McVay was as frustrated with Goff as many think so much as being frustrated at the handcuffs this young man grew into and could no longer slip out of with the wave of a creative Sharpie.
Why Matthew Stafford Is The Biggest Difference
It seems rather obvious to say openly — a talented veteran quarterback comes in and immediately improves the offense. But before you Jared Goff loyalists fall off the bandwagon reaching far to defend his numbers, answer honestly. How many games have the Rams lost after plays broke down? How many of those games was the team expected to win? Don’t get me wrong. Stafford won’t be perfect, just much better in surprise moments.
The savvy veteran brings an encyclopedia of both knowledge and insight that Goff just doesn’t (arguably, may never) have. What’s more, like Brady, he brings the moxie to thrust it upon every teammate’s plate while not turning away until swallowed.
Week 1 preparation against the Chicago Bears is the perfect example of things to come. Stafford has already injected some of his insight into the Rams game plan come Sunday night. Sean McVay, of course, has been quick to welcome and incorporate all of his new quarterback’s input. And why not? Who on the team knows his former division (the NFC North) and its defensive tendencies better than him? Trust me, possibilities and scenarios that have a slim chance of happening have been discussed and prepared for. Meanwhile, the NFC West is McVay’s domain. This collaborative effort will go on all season and since players and coaches move around constantly it can benefit their games with other opponents.
And yes, the play of the offensive line, is depth to be specific, is a major concern. But players on the level of Stafford are capable of overcoming weaknesses in other areas more often than not given the weapons.
What It All Means For An Offensive Mastermind
First, a disclaimer for non-Rams fans of the Los Angeles Rams: The following is likely to be beyond your comprehension if you have yet to admit to yourself two things; 1. Cornerback Jalen Ramsey is arguably the best at what he does year in, year out. 2. Aaron Donald is the most disruptive NFL player while being the best overall defensive lineman to ever grace trenches any and everywhere. Not arguable, now let’s move on.
I mean, have you seen the potential on this team, Mr. Vegas?
Sean McVay’s Goff-led Los Angeles Rams finished 43-21 overall with a .672 Win%, .500 playoff%, 1x NFC Conference Champions, and 1x Super Bowl appearance. Suddenly, they have a true deep threat receiver in DeSean Jackson. They have a massive red zone target on the improve in 6’5″ tight end Jacob Harris (who’s been spotted hanging with wideouts on-field in practice). They just added a slightly larger and more experienced running back in Sony Michel (with his knack for the end zone). And let us not forget receiver Van Jefferson who is leaps and bounds ahead of his rookie season.
Now with ten-plus years of experience as a non-assistant coach in the NFL, McVay’s confidence level is at a career-high. He knows what he’s doing and what he wants. And now, he has the most complete team he’s ever known to get it done. So complete that the defense doesn’t really need to return to the top spot to win it all. Personally, I’m betting this is the case and core players (Donald, Ramsey, Matthews, and yes, even Robert Woods and Justin Lawler) get what they deserve.
Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images