Day 3 of Super Bowl week is in the books, and yes, I had to consult my calendar to be sure that this is, in fact, Day 3.
On one hand, it feels like these three days have flown. I’ve worked well over 40 hours so far this week, and I’ve been busy and productive pretty much every moment because there’s so much to do and see and report that it’s the only way to stay on top of it. On the other hand, it feels like I have always covered the Rams’ trip to the Super Bowl. It’s so much at one time that it feels pretty all-consuming.
But I’ve enjoyed every second, and today’s media availability with the Rams was the best so far. While Tuesday’s was a circus and I had to wait pretty much the entire allotted time to ask Aaron Donald one question, Tuesday was a bit more relaxed. I spoke with Ndamukong Suh and Marcus Peters about playing for Wade Phillips, and Brandin Cooks and Rodger Saffold about what it’s like to go up against Phillips’ defense in practice.
I’ve written a piece for flagship about it, and will be sure to share that with my favorite Rams fans as soon as it’s available. My favorite thing about today’s availability was the way Suh chuckled when he described Phillips. Directly from my transcription:
He’s a (chuckles) fun-loving gentleman, a lot of excitement to him.
It’s not surprising that Suh thinks Phillips is a lot of fun. Wade Phillips is an absolute nonstop delight and a national treasure. But if you asked me to put money on the one NFL player that I would never expect to chuckle in any circumstance, I would have bet the farm on Suh. He just doesn’t seem like a chuckler. Maybe Phillips just brings out the best in people.
Just talked to Suh, Marcus Peters and Brandin Cooks for a story. I’ve been watching these guys play for years. Three days in and this is still surreal and awesome. pic.twitter.com/C7zVNlXfZR— Jeañña (@jeannathomas) January 30, 2019
A few people have asked me what Suh’s personality was like, and I talked to him for about a minute of a half so I’m not going to act like that’s a reasonable amount of time to judge his character. But in that minute and a half, he came across as pleasant, reasonably friendly, and definitely happy to be with the Rams and headed to the Super Bowl. His respect for the experience and the teammates and coaches who helped him get there was evident.
Sean McVay and Jared Goff were both at the main podium today, while a number of other players were available at podiums and tables in an adjacent room after McVay and Goff were finished. Below are some highlights from McVay:
McVay says the key to this week is balancing the volume and intensity of work so they’re fresh for game day without losing any of the focus or intensity— Jeañña (@jeannathomas) January 30, 2019
McVay says “it’s a shared ownership” as far as the mutual respect between players and coaches.— Jeañña (@jeannathomas) January 30, 2019
McVay says they’re prepping for the flow of the game and the longer halftime by tweaking their nutrition and making sure they’re fully warmed up for the third quarter.— Jeañña (@jeannathomas) January 30, 2019
McVay says he thinks the team’s focus is where it needs to be, which is keeping the main thing the main thing. The main thing, of course, being winning the Super Bowl.— Jeañña (@jeannathomas) January 30, 2019
My favorite quote from McVay today was about how many family members the Atlanta native will have at the Super Bowl. He said he believes his parents are protecting him from that info to keep from annoying him, but he said, “If your last name is McVay, you’re probably going to be there.”
Some highlights from Goff:
Goff says the Rams are “just a huge group of people who are doing it for each other.” Points our stars like Gurley and Donald and their work ethic and leadership and says McVay sets the tone for that pic.twitter.com/D2zdfO841o— Jeañña (@jeannathomas) January 30, 2019
Goff says he does like Harry Potter. Declines to say what kind of magic they need to win on Sunday.— Jeañña (@jeannathomas) January 30, 2019
Goff says what the line has been doing has been incredible. Thinks he went untouched against Dallas and got hit once against NO.— Jeañña (@jeannathomas) January 30, 2019
Goff says he’s trying to treat this like any other game. He’s trying to be himself, prepare as best he can, and enjoy the moment.— Jeañña (@jeannathomas) January 30, 2019
Goff also talked about how this particular team got closer this season due to shared adversity.
That adversity — whether it was the experience of being evacuated for wildfires, even while some players’ families stayed behind, or adapting on the fly when the Mexico City game was moved — brought the team together and helped foster the mentality that “the star of the team is the team.”
That was a direct quote from McVay, and it was echoed later by Brandin Cooks as he was talking to the media at his podium. As the team moved into actual practice today, remembering that the team has to remain at the center of everything they’re doing to prepare for the Patriots should help keep the Rams’ focus where it needs to be heading into Thursday.
My focus on Thursday is on bringing my friends at Turf Show Times an inside look at the Rams again tomorrow. Thanks for reading, and as always, ask your questions in the comments, and I’ll do my best to answer them all.