The Los Angeles Rams are getting ready to host the Pittsburgh Steelers this coming Sunday. The Rams are coming off of a win over a division opponent. The Steelers are coming off of their bye week. As the Steelers may be getting some players like Diontae Johnson back, the Rams will most likely be missing cornerback Derion Kendrick. The team has to navigate that loss and it’s impact on the team as they get ready to face a very tough team from the AFC North. Let’s see what LA’s head coach had to say about some news around the team as they prepare for game seven.
“I know you guys will have questions. The legal matter is still pending as far as Derion Kendick is concerned. So I don’t have anything further to to add on that. He will not be at practice today and I’m hoping that I’ll have further clarity and information because just as you guys are wondering exactly about everything we’re doing the same thing.”
The coach goes on to apologize for not having more information. It’s a legal situation, these are real people and this particular situation is bigger than football.
“We were hoping to have a little bit more clarity on Monday when we did speak, but it is the truth, and once I do then we’ll fill you guys in out of respect for your curiosity and what you guys have to do for your jobs as well.”
The reporters have probably spoken with Kendrick as part of their profession. Obviously they want to know what is going on for their jobs. There can still be a human component where they hope the young man is alright. I am sure many around the Rams facility are worried about Derion, and that’s something the team will have to deal with this week as they prepare to face the Steelers.
The coach is asked how he is doing on a personal level and as he’s still waiting. I had assumed that the question had to do with McVay waiting to hear more information on Kendrick but the head coach shifts gear.
“Oh, I’m doing good. You know I’m bummed out because I care about these players and again I think you want to know everything that’s going on I’m bummed out for a lot these guys that have put in a lot of hard work that get injuries, that’s one of the worst parts about this job, and then my wife’s doing great.”
We’ve got you covered on what McVay says about potentiallay missing a game due to the birth of his son. It’s pretty funny. The coach also talks more about the team being resilient and overcoming “injuries” and he closes it out by mentioning the team has to prepare for their upcoming matchup. Not sure if I misunderstood the question, if the coach misunderstood or if the coach deflected. Either way McVay continues to shine as a communicator. The coach also knows there is a task at hand. The Steelers would’ve been a tough matchup regardless, but the team happens to be coming off of their bye week.
“Their getting some really good players back off of their bye. Looking forward to this challenge like every single week. It’ll be fun.”
The Rams will be without Kyren Williams who has been great all year. He may have had his breakout game last week. Hopefully last Sunday is not the best game of the young player’s career. He’s been fun to watch and it’s no secret the Rams are disappointed he’s injured. How can they replace Williams? The Rams seem to have four options this week with Zach Evans, Royce Freeman, Darrell Henderson, and Myles Gaskin.
“We’ve got the week to be able to evaluate and I would say, you know all four of those guys are possibilities and we’re truly navigating through that, but I was pleased with what Zach did towards the latter part of the game.”
The gut punch to this RB news is that the coach did say he thought Kyren would be fine in his post game press conference last Sunday. It did not seem like McVay thought Williams would miss any time.
“Ya, I mean, he was walking around. He had great...it shows you what a tough dude he is. I mean he’s walking around, had the adrenaline. The way that his immediate checkup went, right afterwards were not in alignment with what some of scans ended up revealing with the severity of the ankle sprain, You know it’s unfortunate but he’s a “fast healer” he says. He’s a resilient guy. He’s done an outstanding job through the first six weeks of the season and we’ll look forward to getting him back whenever that is.”
It’s unclear if Williams will be back in a week or two or if the he will need to spend some time on IR. Whoever is lining up for the Rams is going to have to prepare for a talented and at times scary (Happy October!) defense out of Western Pennsylvania.
“They’ve always been such a high level operation with coach Tomlin leadership. You know, and it always starts up front. You know, you look at Watt and Highsmith off the edges. They’ve got excellent depth behind them. They can push the pocket interior wise and they do a great job of playing hard on all three levels. They can do it in a variety of ways...we’ve got our work cut out for us.”
If the Steelers somehow manage a lead they can really send the rush, but Pittsburgh can be successful rushing with their front four too. That type of defense will give the best offense problems. As sharp as the Rams have looked, sometimes they also have looked exposed. Especially when trailing and a team can unleash their blitzes. Stafford can still navigate that, but it’s not good for his health to have to play that way all game.
“...You love the week of preparation and then by the time Sunday rolls around let’s cut it loose and have some fun and go play with confidence and a quieted mind.”
LA has a chance to get to 4-3 and that would be huge for this team’s playoff chances. It’s still early but every game only continues to count more the further we go. I think it’s fair to say that both the Steelers and Rams view themselves as playoff teams. They have a chance to show which team is more ready this Sunday.