Sean McVay ready for challenges ahead with Rams

McVay voiced his excitement about the journey ahead in his first head coaching job in the NFL with the Rams.

The Los Angeles Rams on Friday afternoon took the first major steps toward beginning a new era with the introduction of new head coach Sean McVay.

In his first official press conference as head coach, McVay made it quite evident that he has an inclusive plan in place to help turn around a franchise that hasn't been to the playoffs or held a winning record in over a decade. 

"We’re going to be a team that’s built on character. We feel that true leadership is about building and developing relationships that are going to help us create a unified vision that’s sustainable over time," McVay said. "Our character will be the foundation and it will be the glue that holds us together as an organization. We’re going to be committed to our process and we’re going to be committed to a standard of performance. That’s what’s going to help guide us on our journey to try to achieve a world championship and bring it to this great city of Los Angeles."

This was a shared sentiment of excitement and enthusiasm that rang throughout the organization about the potential that lies ahead with McVay at the helm as a head coach for the first time in his NFL coaching career. 

"It’s a great day for the Los Angeles Rams to be sitting here to announce Sean McVay as our next head coach for the franchise," Rams C.O.O. and E.V.P. of Football Operations Kevin Demoff said. "It was great to go through the rest of the process to meet a number of terrific coaches – many of whom are becoming head coaches in the NFL right now. We felt confident last Wednesday, once we met Sean that he would be the perfect fit."

Although there were many concerns about his age at just 30 years old, making him the youngest head coach in NFL history, the Rams feel confident that McVay has the right characteristics and mindset to become a successful head coach. 

"I think the thing that stood out was the passion and the energy," Demoff said. "But it was someone who, even in the small role he had on that coaching staff, stood out to all of us in the organization – just a bright spot. I think when you get around football teams, the young guys who come in very first and are helping out, they don’t often stand out – they’re part of the whole world of the organization that’s 200 people deep.

"But everybody kept talking about Sean’s maturity and not a ton of interaction at that time, but certainly, someone that you follow as they walk through this process and these steps. I don’t think you ever know if someone is ready to be a head coach, until they spend their first day on the sidelines – we’ll find that out. But certainly the pedigree. And I think one of the things Sean’s talked about, having a legacy and a family both on the front office side and the coaching side gives him a unique perspective to be able to come in, relate and lead an entire building as the CEO of the organization.” 

McVay has grown up around the NFL with his grandfather John McVay coaching the San Francisco 49ers for 21 years primarily as the team's vice president/director of football operations. He has spent the last seven years as a coach in the NFL working under some of the most respectable coaches in Jon Gruden and  Mike Shanahan along with executive Bruce Allen. 

With that tutelage in place to develop his persona as a coach in the league, McVay believes he possesses the right qualities to get the job done with Los Angeles. 

"I’d like to think that those are some of the characteristics that I embody – teacher, leader, motivator, positive, energy and enthusiasm every single day," McVay said. "It’s about figuring out a way to be great communicators on all levels of our organization, everybody working in the same direction. And that’s when we succeed, everyone feels a part in it, and when we don’t succeed, everybody feels – I got to figure out what I can do within the framework of my role to get it fixed.

"That culture of ‘we’ that you’ll hear us consistently talk about is what’s going to allow us to achieve goals. It’s not about me, it’s about we, and our whole entire LA Rams organization. That’s kind of what I would hope to embody, and how I would hope to be described.”

Much of the appeal for him stems from the offensive success that he had as the Redskins offensive coordinator that in the 2016 regular season finished third in yards per game (403.4), second in yards per play (6.40), and were the second-best statistical passing offense (297.4). 

At the forefront of that was the continued development of quarterback Kirk Cousins, who is coming off an extremely productive campaign where he threw just shy of 5,000 passing yards while holding a 97.2 quarterback rating and 67.0 completion percentage. With all that in mind, McVay stated that he sees plenty of that same mental makeup and ability on the field from Jared Goff in direct comparison to the Redskins' quarterback.

"Getting a chance to work with Kirk where he’s our full-time starter over the last couple years, you do see a lot of similarities between he and Jared," McVay said. "But working with Kirk, he’s a special player. All of the intangibles are off the charts – the same thing that you see with Jared. When you have a guy that is committed to the process and you see the abilities, which both of these players do have, that’s when you give yourself a chance to have success.

"What I think enabled Kirk to have some success, he truly was an extension of our coaching staff. He knew exactly what we were trying to do situationally. We’re encouraged and excited about developing him, and working on achieving some goals together.”

In his rookie campaign, Goff struggled to find any consistency recording just 1,089 passing yards with a 54.6 completion percentage with five touchdown passes and seven interceptions and held a 22.2 quarterback rating. This includes recording at least one interception on four occasions while passing for fewer than 200 yards five times. In fact, Goff ranked last in the league in yards per completion (5.31), second-worst total quarterback rating, and the fourth-lowest completion percentage.

That said, McVay believes the relationship that he will have with Goff will play a vital role in helping improve an offense that finished last in the NFL in points per game (14.0), total offensive yards (262.7), and 31st in passing yards per game (184.4) last season. 

"I think it’s extremely important," McVay said. "I think, when you look at it from just an offensive philosophy, that quarterback position is the most important position – it’s the most difficult position, it’s the most important position. And when you have a guy that you feel like can do the things that you’re asking him to do, you have a chance to compete week-in and week-out.

"Sitting down with Jared, you can feel his passion and the drive that he has to come back and respond in year two and be better. I can’t wait, within the framework and the structure of the CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement), to get to work with him and start developing that relationship that’s going to be key for us moving forward.”

Ultimately, McVay is well aware of the challenges ahead with the Rams but is prepared to do whatever it takes to get through them. 

"Anybody that tells you in this league, the ultimate goal is not to win a Lombardi Trophy, is kidding themselves," McVay said. "In order to do that, it takes a process, a standard of performance and we’re going to be very committed to that. That’s a daily approach and that’s continuous improvement, being committed to excellence, what is our weekly rhythm, how do we get better, how do we continue to be great in the fundamentals and techniques that our coaches are trying to emphasize.

 "But, it’s a one day approach, we’re not making any promises, but what I can promise you is, we can’t wait to go to work with our players and they’ll be excited about the energy, the feel of this building, and how serious we are about our football and trying to create that winning culture.”

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