Sean McVay has had better Augusts since taking over as the head coach of the Los Angeles Rams. In the first couple of years of his career, he could do no wrong and was seen by many as the boy-genius of the NFL. However, after a 5-12 season and a winless preseason, the boo birds are migrating his way. Is this the darkest moment of his career? How quickly could he beat back the worried fan base and the detractors waiting to pounce?
Sean McVay Heading into Pivotal September
Of course, the first defense against any criticism is that he has always punted on preseason games. Starters were an extinct species for the team yet again, so the scores of the games truly are not indicative of what will happen this regular season. However, while his starters didn’t play, the head coach “did.” He wore the headset and gave the pregame, halftime, and postgame speeches. He also stood by as the team took a 41-0 shut out just months after delivering a similar beatdown to the Denver Broncos on Christmas Day.
The head coach is also heading into one of the most pressure-packed times on the NFL calendar. By the end of September, much will be revealed. As is often touched on this time of year by broadcasters and statisticians, teams that start slow in September rarely make the playoffs. If Sean McVay starts 0-2, despite only coaching through two weeks, Matthew Stafford will already be an underdog to earn a playoff spot.
If he starts 0-3, he might as well call it a season, mathematically speaking. Back to back losing seasons while missing the playoffs are a stain not many coaches recover from in the long-term. As such, the next few weeks could be massive, but no pressure, right?
The bad news in addition to this is that the NFL schedule makers didn’t throw the Rams any bones to kickoff the season. They play the usually difficult Seattle Seahawks and then the San Francisco 49ers. Sean McVay historically struggles against Kyle Shanahan, so 1-1 seems like the fair bet. Then, in Week 3, the Bengals come to town looking to avenge their Super Bowl defeat.
To be fair, the team now has Matthew Stafford at what could be his healthiest in years. His favored target, Cooper Kupp, on the other hand is dealing with a nagging hamstring issue. Furthermore, the team wasn’t exactly rocketing through defenses before injuries occurred. Stafford had thrown for ten touchdowns and eight interceptions. It’s a tight spot for the Rams and after an 0-3 preseason and it’s going to take everything for Sean McVay to get through the next several weeks on the winning side.