Rams head coach Sean McVay has been in his position for just over two months, working with his staff to prepare as much as possible for his first season leading the club. But one aspect of the job he can’t quite dive into yet is teaching players on the roster his system.
And as a new head coach, McVay said he’s starting to get a bit antsy seeing players around the building but not being able to delve into scheme with them.
“That’s the nice thing about the L.A. area, that the players stay around,” McVay said at the NFC coaches breakfast at this week’s league meetings. “There are certain places where they get out of town and live in other places in the offseason. So, if you had the ability to be able to spend more time with them, especially because they’re around — even if it was something where, if they wanted to come in you could do it — you can’t even do that.”
And if there’s one position in particular where McVay would like to get going, it’s quarterback. McVay mentioned both Jared Goff and Sean Mannion have been around the building, but there is plenty the group will have to learn once the offseason program begins on April 10
“I think it’s so important. That’s why you see some teams bring in those quarterbacks early in training camp. It’s why you appreciate — being in Washington with a couple guys that truly were extensions of our coaching staff — that’s what you hope to quickly do with Jared and Sean Mannion, and we just added Aaron Murray, as well,” McVay said.
To that end, McVay said he and the coaching staff have been working diligently to prepare for when players come in so the learning process goes as smoothly as possible. But since he cannot work with the Rams’ new staff, Goff has been training with private instructors Tom House and Adam Dedeaux.
One of the advantages Goff has with House and Dedeaux is that they’re familiar with principles of McVay’s playbook. Offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur had a positive experience with the private instructors as quarterbacks coach of the Falcons, as Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan worked with the duo prior to his MVP 2016 season.
“Matt LaFleur was kind of the one that put it in motion because he and Matt Ryan, they did that last year and had a bunch of success,” McVay said. “We are in alignment with a lot of the fundamentals and a lot of the mechanics in terms of how we want to throw the football in an efficient manner. That’s what’s nice about it, before [Goff] even goes and works with those guys, you know that your core beliefs are in alignment with some of the things they’ve been working on.”
But once the offseason program hits in a couple weeks, McVay said he’s planning on building from the ground up when it comes to teaching his offense to the young quarterback.
“With him, the first thing is being able to learn our verbiage, how to call a play, get in and out of the huddle and understand the intent of the play, the mechanics, what are the problems with it,” McVay said. “It’s a daily process and it’s very important for us to incrementally give him our offense and help him learn that.
“Once we get out on to the grass, I think we’ll have a much better idea,” McVay continued. “It’s one thing to sit in the meeting room, talk about it, then him being able to regurgitate that information. It’s a totally different thing when you’re accepting a snap, you’re having to decipher a coverage and how that dictates and determines where I’m going to go, what’s the timing and rhythm.”
While McVay hasn’t been able to spend too much time around Goff, it’s clear the quarterback made a strong impression. The head coach mentioned being able to feel a strong sense of passion behind the quarterback’s “Cali swag.” It’s part of why McVay says he thinks Goff has a chance to take a significant step forward in 2017.
“It’s easy when things don’t go well, to try to deflect and put the blame elsewhere,” McVay said. “And all he did was take the accountability [and say], ‘Here’s what I have to do a better job with moving forward, here’s some of the challenges.’ That’s what you like and that’s what you want from your leader.”
But until April 10, coach and quarterback will continue to work separately — a policy McVay would like to see revisited in the future. And he’s likely not alone.
“It gives you a chance to develop a relationship, more of a rapport with them from just a foundational level, but then also being able to teach them football — I don’t think that can be underappreciated,” McVay said of potentially working prior to the offseason program. “Anytime, as a coach, you’re going to ask if I want the players around more, the answer is always going to be yes. And I would be willing to bet that the other 31 guys would say the same thing.”