The Los Angeles Rams offensive, defensive, and special teams coordinators spoke to the media on Monday to address the first game of the preseason. The game did end in a loss but it is preseason and the coaches did not give off any serious concerns, yet. Special teams coordinator Chase Blackburn started the press conference off with the media, knowing he had to address a sloppy game for his unit, including a punt return touchdown and a missed field goal.
“There’s a lot of good that can come out of game like that even a bad situation.”
Overall it seemed like Blackburn (and seemingly all the coaches) feel there are positives to take away from the game and that’s no real surprise at this stage. The games do not count, yet.
Though Blackburn did seem to admit that whereas, he maybe would’ve liked to have seen better results from the Rams, he would not take a rep back. Overall this team can learn from this experience and be better for it.
“Stay into them, stay into the game, be football players more than just specialists.”
This special teams unit may have a long way to go, but a friendlier way to say that might be that this team is showing a lot of room for growth.
Offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur was next and right off the bat he is asked what we all want to know. What did he think of Stetson Bennett’s performance?
“Getting through a series, getting to halftime, talking about some adjustments, what the next plays are gonna be...you know as you guys could he just kind of settled in and got into a little bit of rhythm there.”
So overall he expressed that this is great experience for Bennett and all of these players. In many instances these guys were taking their first NFL snap, so from getting in and out of the huddle, coming to and from the sideline. This is really new for a lot of these guys and thus any experience in the NFL however big or small is good experience, so far.
“Some guys are just built to be tackles, some guys are build to be guards and if you are blessed to have the versatility both mind and body to be able to kind of bump inside you know it’s just a blessing when you get into those situations.”
I have to be honest, I could not quite hear what LaFluer was asked here but he goes on to talk about the New York Jets Alijah Vera Tucker and he talks about his versatility, It made me wonder if the Rams brought in LaFluer to give them different perspectives on where these lineman can play. LA has been moving their lineman around and I would guess some of that is routine but some of that could be the direct influence of their new offensive coordinator.
“Whole new offense, no one no one here that was with us in New York. Then obviously just the coaches, having have Sean (McVay) you know obviously Robert Saleh was a defensive coach so he wasn’t going to give too much input from an offensive perspective but just being able to communicating with the head coach, a guy that’s called plays for a long time and done it at a very high level, so that was a little different...it was a cool experience getting to do with Sean and the rest of the guys.”
It is going to be interesting to monitor how McVay and LaFleur work together this year.
“The more he (Stetson Bennett) got in the groove, the less I was saying.”
It seems like Bennett is really getting these coaches and the fanbase excited for what he is bringing to the Rams. Only up from here, right?
Raheem Morris spoke about the defense and he seemed really encouraged to be working with John Johnson and he actually seemed encouraged as a whole. I stand by this, and I know some may disagree, but I think LA is lucky to have Morris.
The coach is asked if the team being young or having a lack of experience can more or less lead to issues on defense or teachable moments (both?).
“That’s the beauty of it, particularly the young group, everything’s brand new, right? With most of the guys out there a lot of the guys I’d say that was their first NFL game that was their first time walking to So-Fi, which I did not realize until the night up when you walk around and watch guys look into stands it’s like “wow”, I forgot we haven’t come down here for our practice's this year.”
Every single moment from these young players, including getting acclimated with the stadium, can only be positive at this point. The players can learn from their mistakes and overall can be better prepared for their next game because they now have a a game under their belt.
If we are hearing this same type of “O we’ll get better, you’ll see.” attitude during the season, and the team is not getting better, then sure I’ll admit there is a problem. For now, it’s preseason and let’s enjoy the process before we get too concerned. If you do want to have concerns about the Rams defense now, I get it, but for now I’ll just quote Aaron Rodgers and say R-E-L-A-X.
Which phase of football are you most and least concerned about after the first preseason game? Let us know in the comments.