From the Podium: Rams talk preparing for Tua Tagovailoa, offense and defense at midpoint of season

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. –– Rams head coach Sean McVay, offensive coordinator Kevin O'Connell, defensive lineman Aaron Donald and offensive lineman Andrew Whitworth each held video conferences with local media Thursday to discuss preparing for Dolphins rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and their assessment of Los Angeles' offense and defense approaching the midpoint of the 2020 season.

Here are some of the highlights and key takeaways from those virtual conversations:

"I think our ability to run it or throw it has been very beneficial." – McVay

  • Asked for his evaluation of the offense halfway through the season, McVay has been pleased with the execution by the run game and the pass game.
  • McVay elaborated by saying he's been "really happy" with the play by the offensive line and the efficiency of the run game, but would like to create more explosive plays in both the run game and the pass game.

"I think every offense in this league wants to be able to run the football and then have the rest of their offense kind of sprout out from there." – O'Connell

  • In terms of the balance between the run and the pass, it's nearly even for the Rams this year with 222 carries and 223 passes.
  • Asked whether that balance was intentional or the product of the way games have unfolded, O'Connell said coming into this season the team placed an emphasis on running the ball and being efficient on early downs.

"It's like every other week. He's still a starting quarterback in the National Football League, whether it's his first start or not." – Donald

  • Tagovailoa is scheduled to make his first career start Sunday, but preparing for him is no different than the way they prepare for any other starting quarterback, according to Donald.
  • Though Tagovailoa has limited pro film, Donald said there's still ways to study him and get a grasp of his skillset by looking back at his college tape from Alabama.

"I think every week, it's continued to be something where we've taken some positive steps." – Whitworth

  • Approaching the halfway point of the season, Whitworth has been pleased with how the Rams' offensive line has performed as a unit.
  • As the younger members of the offensive line gain experience, Whitworth said "I think the potential for what we could be is even better than it's been."

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