During the off-season, we’ve heard a lot of wisdom about the expectations for the Los Angeles Rams and their new coach: “Give Coach McVay some time.” “He needs a couple years to change the culture.” “Fisher-Ball was so bad, it’ll be impossible for WE NOT ME to happen overnight.”
And maybe those sentiments will still ring true once the regular season rolls around. However, I believe that it’s already happened and that the players have bought into McVay’s culture. They are hungry to prove themselves and it came through loud and clear last night in Oakland.
Just look at this run 2nd and 1 play with Todd Gurley:
Todd Gurley pushing the pile pic.twitter.com/TJ1SZMmqIg— Chris Raybon (@ChrisRaybon) August 20, 2017
They had the first down, but did they stop? Hell no. The entire offensive line willed this play into a success — as if they were going to carry Todd Gurley into the endzone. Robert Woods jumps in and gives the huddled mass of players an extra push. Tyler Higbee even gets knocked down and leaps right back up to shove the pile forward.
What’s great about effort like this is that it’s infectious. It shows that the offense is hungry and everyone is feeling that hunger. They aren’t giving up on plays anymore. Is this how they want all of their plays to go? No. Not at all. But effort like this makes a statement to the other guys on the team.
And how about the fumble problem that plagued the Rams during their first preseason game with the Cowboys? Well, Coach McVay and his staff did a crazy thing during the week that followed: they coached the players about the importance of ball security. And just like that, we’re no longer talking about fumbles.
I know what you may be thinking, this jerk is drunk off McVay Kool-Aid. And yes, maybe I am. But I’m aware that the Rams are still an massive underdog in the grand scheme of the NFL; it’s just encouraging that McVay is fighting for them to step up and compete with the best teams out there.
The new culture even showed up at the end of the game, when you’d expect the competitiveness to have left the decrepit confines of the Oakland Coliseum. But not according to Coach McVay. The Rams wanted to win this game, calling Josh Reynolds’ number in one of the plays of the game.
This touchdown is all Josh Reynolds pic.twitter.com/0vc7FKiMdi— Brandon Bate (@NoPlanB_) August 20, 2017
So, my unexpected aspect of the game is how quickly Coach McVay has integrated his philosophy. It feels like a new team. Probably because it is.
The “We Not Me” movement is in full effect and the Rams have already changed for the better.