Los Angeles Rams HC Sean McVay spoke to the Kansas City Star’s Kansas City Chiefs beat writer, Terez A. Paylor, at the 101 Awards in Kansas City about the trade for Chiefs CB Marcus Peters and how he views issues like discipline and professionalism.
While Peters’ volatile outbursts were ultimately what motivated the Chiefs to seek a trade in the first place, McVay knows the magnitude of the test Peters’ attitude poses and hardly seemed apprehensive about taking that test on:
These are grown men, and it starts with the mutual respect that exists, where they know it’s about developing and building relationships. If we’re going to ask our players to be coachable, we’ve got to be coachable as coaches as well. That displays an ownership and an accountability that we try to all have and makes the players more receptive to the messages we try to implement.
As always, McVay has his talking points in order and balances them with a level of self-responsibility sprinkled in that always refreshes the #WeNotMe well. But there’s a real question mark underneath this that creates the test in the first place that McVay didn’t address, and in all fairness shouldn’t have. Certainly, Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid could have said the exact same words verbatim. Saying them didn’t prevent Peters’ eruptions. Paylor notes that “McVay said he believes in establishing clear-cut boundaries, which could factor into his eventual handling of Peters.” I’m not sure how different that philosophy is from Reid’s which itself ultimately failed.
The truth is yes, McVay will be responsible for fostering an environment to make sure those outbursts, should they come when Peters dons a new uniform, don’t hurt the team in the end. But it’s going to be a team effort. Paylor notes that McVay has a built-in support factor in Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips and his deep experience but that “ultimately set the tone in a locker room, and McVay likes the alpha males who establish the Rams’ football culture, especially defenders like Alec Ogletree, Connor Barwin and Donald, all of whom McVay explicitly mentioned by name.”
That’s why it was perhaps more important to hear from Rams DL Aaron Donald at the award ceremony:
Every little thing he says, it makes you want to listen to it and take the coaching.
He’s a coach — he’ll get after you when you do something wrong. Don’t let that smile fool you. I’ve seen that man change.
As well-spoken as McVay is and as much as Rams fans revel in his well-rehearsed, on-the-nose responses, that’s the public McVay. That’s the caricature that goes in front of the camera. Once he’s back in the locker room, “He’s a coach.” And he’s got to balance the hardline disciplinarian with the soft power diplomat. Carrots and sticks and whatnot.
They know exactly what the expectations are, what our standards are, and they know what it is to do it the right way.
Time will tell if Peters is able to heed to those expectations and standards often enough to a satisfactory degree to keep him a Ram beyond the next two seasons.