Sean McVay met with the media on Wednesday and he gave updates on Matthew Stafford, who will be returning punts, what he thought of Brian Allen’s first start back at center in almost two years.
McVay ‘loved’ Brian Allen’s play at center
Sean McVay *really* liked the way Brian Allen played on Sunday night.— Cameron DaSilva (@camdasilva) September 15, 2021
Nay, he "loved it." https://t.co/rby4uq6fxf
Brian Allen was a surprising choice to be the starting center but McVay talked him up through training camp and didn’t hesitate to start him in Week 1 against the Chicago Bears. Though he had a holding penalty and may have allowed the lone sack of Matthew Stafford, most marks for Allen’s first start were quite positive. Including from the Turf Show Times community, which was something that maybe even Allen was unsure would ever happen.
McVay loved what he saw and praised his rapport with Stafford:
“I loved it. He’s another guy, you talk about great stories that just make you so happy for guys,” he said. “You look at the way that he has consistently just demonstrated a resilient mindset and mentality as he’s recovered from what was a really tough knee injury against Pittsburgh a handful of years ago, or a couple of years ago. He just had belief, he just continued to grind at it. He played really well, we got a game ball.”
McVay sees Tutu Atwell as the punt returner, not Cooper Kupp
Sean McVay clears up questions regarding the #Rams’ punt returner going forwardhttps://t.co/GMY3Uu7ne9— Nick Cothrel (@NickCothrel) September 15, 2021
Despite Cooper Kupp returning punts in Week 1, McVay says the job belongs to their second round rookie out of Louisville:
“Tutu (Atwell) is our punt returner,” McVay said. “In a normal circumstance and situation, you can expect to see him back there. There just was so many limited opportunities and because of the particular situation, that’s why Cooper was back there.”
Atwell didn’t do a lot of special teams work in college but it may be the only way he gets onto the field as a rookie. He had two offensive snaps in Week 1.
Strategy to sit starters in preseason may have impacted run defense vs Bears
Sean McVay says it's possible the Rams' struggles defending the run in Week 1 were related to the starters' lack of action in the preseason. He says defenders find a tackling rhythm as time goes on.— Greg Beacham (@gregbeacham) September 15, 2021
The Rams were solid in nearly every phase of the game but Chicago running back David Montgomery still had himself a day. Sean McVay conceded somewhat in saying it was possible that sitting starters for the entire preseason impacted the run defense and that defenders “find a tackling rhythm” as the season goes on.
Honestly, if there was one thing that stood out in training camp and preseason as a blatant negative, it would have been run defense.
To see it continue against an underrated, potential top-five back like Montgomery, is not that concerning. Week 2’s opposing back, Jonathan Taylor, might be even better.
Stafford showed “great swag”
McVay on Stafford: "I just thought he's one of those guys that he just elevated everybody around him... I thought @jalenramsey said it best in his postgame interview. He had great swag, good confidence."— ESPN Los Angeles (@ESPNLosAngeles) September 15, 2021
Now with @VeniceMase & @ramonashelburne ➡️ https://t.co/Wda75IMccI pic.twitter.com/8G5p9wFAHq
McVay echoed comments by Jalen Ramsey: Matthew Stafford has “great swag” and confidence and it showed in Week 1. I think that might also be “swagger” but that NFC Offensive Player of the Week award he just won is certainly some nice swag.