Let’s take a look back at the Los Angeles Rams progress over the past year. With three games left to play in 2016, the Rams finally fired Jeff Fisher with Special Teams Coach John Fassel serving as the interim head coach. The Rams finished the season 4-12 while Jared Goff looked like a bust and Todd Gurley looked like a shell of the player who had won Rookie of the Year the previous year. There was clear frustration in the locker room all season long as the whole team was frustrated with the offense’s inability to score.
To make matters worse, the Rams also did not have a first round pick due to their trade with the Tennessee Titans, which resulted in the team selecting Jared Goff. The Rams were looking to target an offensive minded coach after the mediocrity that was the Jeff Fisher era. As fans remember, the Rams were the worst offense in the NFL as Gurley described the offense as “a middle school offense”.
On January 13, 2017, the Rams hired Sean McVay as their new head coach. McVay was only 30 at the time of the hire, becoming the youngest head coach in the Super Bowl Era. Under the direction of Sean McVay, the Rams signed all-pro LT Andrew Whitworth in free agency, as well as WR Robert Woods. During training camp, the Rams traded away DB E.J. Gaines and a second-round pick for WR Sammy Watkins of Buffalo.
Once training camp started, McVay was able to install his offense, which slowed the game down for Goff. Mcvay’s offense schemed receivers open, making it easy for Goff to make the correct read. Along with McVay’s offensive scheme, the receiver position was massively upgraded with the additions of Robert Woods, Sammy Watkins, and rookie Cooper Kupp.
While Kupp and Woods were the biggest targets for Goff throughout the season, Watkins was the receiver that worried defenses. With his big play ability, opposing defenses often assigned a safety to help cover Watkins. Due to the double coverage of Watkins, McVay was able to easily scheme the other receivers open.
While Goff greatly improved from last season, most of the credit can be given to McVay, as well as the new receivers. Besides his creative offensive schemes, McVay also called audibles. McVay is the only coach in the NFL who called audibles instead of the quarterback. This is due to his ability to look at where the defense is lined up and quickly change the play without having to call a timeout.
In McVay’s first season as head coach, the Rams went 11-5, their first winning record since 2003. Gurley is an MVP candidate and DT Aaron Donald is a candidate for Defensive Player of the Year. With the help of Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips, McVay transformed this team into a possible perennial playoff contender.
At only 31 years old, Sean McVay is already one of the best offensive minds in the league. He should be the winner in Coach of the Year as I don’t think there was another available coach who could transform the Rams like McVay did. This is an organization who hadn’t had a winning record in 15 years. McVay turned one of the worst teams in football around in one year. While the past is bleak, the future is exciting for the Rams.