Why Rams Coach Sean McVay is ‘Grateful’ for ‘Most Challenging’ Season

Despite a terribly underwhelming season, Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay is embracing the opportunities that have arisen as a result of his team’s struggles.

To say this season has been disappointing for the Los Angeles Rams would be an understatement.

After entering with aspirations of defending their Super Bowl title, the Rams find themselves with a 3-9 record and as losers of six straight games.

It’s been an unprecedented run of difficulty, especially considering that coach Sean McVay’s worst record during his first five seasons was 9-7.

Whether it be injuries across the offensive line or to a pair of stars in quarterback Matthew Stafford and receiver Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles has had little luck and largely been able to show what it can do at full strength.

But through it all, McVay’s appreciative of the lessons pulled from this year – even it’s been an experience he’s never had before and never hopes to see again.

“These are the times that you really learn,” McVay said. “I know for me personally, this is the most challenging thing that you’ve ever gone through. It’s forcing a lot of reflection that wouldn’t exist otherwise. I don’t want to go through this, but I’m grateful because if you have the right perspective, growth can occur and I want to be better for these players, for these coaches.”

McVay added that he’s “proud to be associated” with his team, praising the effort given in Sunday’s heartbreaking 27-23 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

But even with the result not going Los Angeles’ way, McVay’s capitalizing on the opportunity to put into practice several of the things he’s preached, specifically centered around mental toughness and the willingness to keep fighting.

It’s one thing to stress these results when times are going well, but it’s another to actually have to live with the outcome. The Rams are in line to become the first reigning Super Bowl champion to not make the postseason the year after since the 2016 Denver Broncos, and it would mark just the second miss of McVay’s tenure.

McVay understands this isn’t the standard; after all, he’s practically the one who set it. It’s easy to stress a growth mindset, especially when little else has gone right – however, McVay’s outline of what he’s specifically reflected on should inspire confidence that this is a one-time occurrence.

“I think you acknowledge some insecurities that maybe you didn’t think you have that this forces you to reflect on,” admitted McVay. “Are you really foundationally secure in the things that really matter? Or do you let some of the outside in narratives affect your being or some of these results affect the way that you approach things? 

“To say that there hasn’t been rough moments where some of that doubt has occurred, I’d be lying to you. But I do know this, these moments, watching the way that these guys play, the way the guys coach, that to me gets me back to the right perspective where you say, ‘You keep slugging, you keep swinging.’”

The 36-year-old McVay seems to be asking all of the right questions, and his strong track record of success serves as a driving indicator that he can turn this season into a positive, moreso moving forward.

But above all else, McVay knows everybody within the organization needs to be better … and he thinks this season’s struggles will only lead to brighter days down the road.

“I’ve heard it said before, “Calm seas don’t make good sailors.’ I know this, we’re growing,” said McVay. “I’m not going to allow this to be anything but growth opportunities. You’re going to continue to see us compete to the best of our ability regardless of the circumstances. That’s where I’m at right now and I know that there’s a lot of guys that are right there with me on that.”

Bad years happen, and the easiest way for them to compound is not address the roots of the problem. Despite having yet to be through a similar situation, McVay seems to truly understand that – and the Rams will be better off because of it.

McVay and Los Angeles will look to “keep slugging (and) keep swinging” against the Las Vegas Raiders on Thursday Night Football, with kickoff set for 5:15 p.m. at SoFi Stadium.

You can follow Daniel Flick on Twitter @DFlickDraft

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