It’s not Thanksgiving yet, and many still have to work on the Wednesday before. That includes Sean McVay who spent most of his Wednesday press conference talking about which players are hurt and which are expected to come back as the Los Angeles Rams prepare to take on the Arizona Cardinals. At the the tail end of the conference the head coach gets asked if he has any plans for Thanksgiving. McVay gives a great answer and seems to light up with joy when he talks about his wife and newborn son. He also speaks about football and Thanksgiving going together. It’s a really sweet moment. I wrote this conference article in the order of what was said (I usually do), so you’ll have to scroll to the bottom to see his exact response.
In the meantime let’s get into some of what the head coach had to say before the upcoming holiday and Sunday’s game.
The Rams are expecting Kyren Williams to be back. The timing could be perfect as Williams maybe had his best game as a pro against the Cardinals in the last game he played. Is the second year NFL running back going to be able to pick up when he left off?
“He looked like he was full-speed in the walk through just now, so he’s feeling good. He’s excited to be back. We’re glad to have him back.”
The head coach doesn’t reveal much in terms of the amount of touches we can expect from Williams or the game plan, but by all indications the player is the healthiest he’s been since the injury.
“If he’s feeling good, we want him to be able to have a normal workload, and I know he’s excited to be back and his teammates are excited to have him.”
I have a feeling that Rams will look to add another running back in the draft or over the offseason, but Williams absoultely impressed in his short time as a starter. If Kyren can stay healthy maybe he is a long term solution. For now the team will just have to see how he does and how his body responds to getting back into NFL action.
Speaking of players who’s bodies may be adjusting to NFL action week in and week out, how is Puka Nacua doing? Can the Rams count on him this weekend?
“Puka is, he’s gonna just be limited today...he’s doing good through.”
The health of Nacua is as important as ever with Cooper Kupp questionable to play this Sunday. Puka has emeraged as a star wideout for the Rams and if LA can figure out how to involve both Kupp and Nacua, this offense may be set up for success for seasons to come.
As the Rams are potentially getting healthier, the Cardinals have gotten back thier franchise quarterback in Kyler Murray. The former number one overall pick has looked solid since his return from a significant knee injury. Many, including myself, expected the Cardinals to be one of the worst teams in the NFL. They may not have the best record, but the team has been putting effort into each game and Murray’s return should make them a tougher opponent than when the Rams last played them. McVay generally comments on the player’s return and how he helps Arizona.
“He’s looked really good in the two games since he’s been back. He brings that element that you can’t coach, you know you can see that...ups the level of play around him. He certainly is a very dangerous player in a lot of different facets, so it’s impressive for him to be there, competing the way he is...he’s always been a problem. It’s a great challenge for us.”
Another thought going into the season was the Rams defense would stuggle after losing star player Jalen Ramsey, and a number of other produdctive players on that side of the ball for LA. However there’s an argument to be made that the defense has been keeping the offense in games. How has Raheem Morris been able to get the most out of this young defense for the Rams?
“Teach and develop. Have flexibilty and continue to be able to really identify guys...just being able to utilize everybody that has a jersey, I think Raheem’s leadership. His ability to be able to connect, collaborate with his coaches, with the players, and you know they’ve done a really good job. I think you’re seeing a lot of guys get better.”
The reality is that as well as the defense has looked, they also have made some mistakes, but what’s exciting is that the defense has all the potential in the world to get better. The young players need experience, and no better way to do that than to practice and play in live NFL games. McVay praises Raheem and the coaches, but also thinks the players allow the coaches to be as successful as they have been.
“It’s really been awesome to see, and now let’s continue to build on it. Let’s continue to grow, but I think everybody’s probably surprised except for the people in this buidling...Raheem and the coaches deserves a tremendous amount of credit, but also those players.”
Hopefully the Rams defense can contain Murray, but even if they do, the offense is going to need to score. McVay seems confident in the team’s ability to step up even in the event that Cooper Kupp misses time.
“We’ve got some depth in that reciever group which I thought was reflected last week.”
Now we get to quote mentioned at the top of the article. Does the head coach have plans for Thanksgiving?
“My family, it’ll be me, Veronica, and little man, but...he keeps her busy I’ll tell you that much, you know, then I come home, you know he’s kinda just staring at you, then he’s ready to go to bed. It’ll be good just to be able to have some time. Always enjoy watching some football, spending some time with the coaches, but...it’s always kind of a special holiday. Football and Thanksgiving just always go togoether, that’s kinda just been a part of my life...we’ll hopefully have good work tomorrow morning, and then be able to enjoy the day and see some good games as well.”
If you are a Rams fan, how can you not love this coach? Have a wonderful and safe holiday. Enjoy some football on Thursday. There’s a big NFC West matchup between the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks that I think plenty of Rams faithful will be curious to watch. Go Rams and happy Thanksgiving!