The Los Angeles Rams are 8-3 12 weeks deep into the 2017 National Football League season. Along with that, the Rams have one of the most exciting young offenses in the league, led by the brilliant mind of the youngest head coach in the history of the NFL, Sean McVay, who was just 30 years old when he was hired early this year on January 13. Along with his ferocious wits, he holds his players to a high standard and expects them to perform as such.
The culture change led by McVay along with defensive coordinator, and longtime NFL coaching veteran Wade Phillips, has proved to be astronomical in so many different ways. You can feel it in every postgame locker room video, presser, or interview. Through all these inside looks into the team, you quickly get the sense he was born to be a leader. He has the knowledge, charisma, and play-calling ability in such a young mind and this group has fully bought into it. He holds players accountable, and they love it. McVay’s ‘We, Not Me’ mentality has struck a chord with this squad and it shows on the field; they truly do play for each other.
While they’re still very young as a group, the Rams have shown immense maturity during this 2017 campaign. A good deal of that mentality was gained when McVay added Pro Bowl tackle Andrew Whitworth to protect Jared Goff’s blindside after Goff had suffered a very underwhelming and brutal 2016 season, where he went 0-7 as the starting quarterback. Whitworth’s protection has worked wonders for Goff’s growth.
In McVay’s system, the number one pick in the 2016 NFL Draft has shown no signs of being a bust. The difference between 2016 and 2017 has been night and day. Goff plays comfortable and loose, and it’s very much due to McVay’s teachings. Goff has been making himself a front-runner for comeback player of the year with a touchdown-interception ratio of 18-5, completion percentage of 61.8 percent and leading the leagues second scoring offense averaging 29.9 points a game (last year’s offense was dead last, averaging 14 per game).
He also has awoken Todd Gurley by adding key parts to the offense such as wide receivers Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp and Sammy Watkins. By adding these wide receivers, opposing defenses respect the Ram’s passing attack and stop stacking the box on every play. This gives Gurley room to breathe and make big plays, such as he did in his breakout rookie season. Every man on this offense has a part in getting it going, and that’s how attentive to detail McVay is. That aspect of the Rams young coach has opposing defenses paying very close attention to the Ram’s offense during the week of prep before game day, and often still trying to crack the code on Sundays.
It’s been a lot more than a resurgence, and honestly, it’s hard for this 16 year Rams fan to describe. I wasn’t expecting such success in McVay’s first season, nor did anyone really expect the Rams to be this explosive. I have such confidence in this team no matter who they face or what building they enter. That confidence comes right back around to McVay and how he has rebuilt this team in one offseason, to make them look like they can be the real deal for a very long time.