Nearly every team in the NFL is being affected by COVID-19 right now and the Los Angeles Rams were among those most impacted. There was a point last week where the Rams had 29 players on the reserve/COVID-19 list amid an outbreak on the team.
Despite all of the moving parts and distractions, Sean McVay was able to rally the Rams to secure a massive win over the Seattle Seahawks on Tuesday night. McVay’s resilience and vulnerability with his players is something that resonated with Matthew Stafford.
After Tuesday’s win, Stafford shared some great insight on how McVay was completely honest with the team in saying that he had no idea what was going to happen from day to day.
“The guy is ultra-resilient,” Stafford said. “He’s really smart and confident in himself and he should be. He’s got a great mind and a great ability to connect with people. And like I said, this whole week was led by him. You know, and some of that is vulnerability, too, right? ‘Hey, guys, I don’t know what the answer is, I don’t know what the answer is going to be tomorrow because we just don’t know.’ There were a lot of unknowns this week. That resonates with us in the locker room, right? Somebody who is real doesn’t say, ‘I got all the answers on a Wednesday when however many guys hit the COVID list, right?’ We don’t know. We’re just going to play this thing day by day, here’s what we can control, and we go from there., That’s something, as a player, you love from a coach. You just sit there and go, ‘Perfect, that’s what we’re all thinking. I’m glad you’re thinking the same thing from us. Hey, let’s build this plan for this game as it kind of comes into focus as who we’re going to have.’ And he did a fantastic job of that.”
The Rams didn’t know from one day to the next who would be available o practice. They didn’t even know when they would be able to practice or actually play their game.
And when Tuesday came, they didn’t know with certainty who would be available because anyone could’ve tested positive at any moment. Stafford appreciated the job McVay did to handle it all, and recognized that he got help from his assistants, too.
“I know he had a lot on his plate this week,” Stafford added. “I feel like our assistant coaches did a great job of helping him out in some of that, too, right? I mean, he’s dealing with all sorts of things, moving parts, personnel, all that kind of stuff. Some of our guys did a great job of bringing things to him as part of the plan. He puts his own little touch on all that and then we go out there and play a game. Just happy to be playing for a guy like that. I got a lot of trust in him and have a bunch of fun playing and working with him.”
Some teams would make excuses about the number of players that were moving on and off of the reserve/COVID-19 list like the Rams had. Los Angeles was unable to practice in person all week, doing all of its meetings via Zoom.
Instead of complaining or sulking in their misfortune, the Rams accepted the challenge of coming from behind to defeat the Seahawks in Week 15. Los Angeles has now won three consecutive games and is tied for first place in the NFC West.
McVay has always been considered a head coach that players love to play for since he arrived in 2017. And in chaotic situations, his ability to communicate to the team and to remain even-keeled is why Stafford and other members of the Rams are elated to play under McVay.
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