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From the Podium: McVay discusses COVID-19 risk mitigation, creating competitive situations

Rams head coach Sean McVay held a video conference with local media on Sunday to discuss the start of Rams Training Camp presented by UNIFY Financial Credit Union and other important topics. Here are some of the highlights and key takeaways from that virtual conversation:

"Guys are chomping at the bit to get back and understand that that's going to be part of how we have a successful season, guys handling themselves the right way with regards to the risk mitigation."

  • Major League Baseball's Miami Marlins experienced a COVID-19 outbreak earlier this week which reportedly infected 21 players and staff members and occurred due to players not following protocols. That incident, along with multiple St. Louis Cardinals players and staff members testing positive, has resulted in the postponement of 17 different MLB games so far.
  • With the Rams scheduled to have their first team meeting Monday, it is serving as a timely and important reminder of the discipline and accountability required of players from the facility to ensure the NFL season goes smoothly.
  • McVay also said it is the coaching staff's responsibility to make sure it emulates the proper behavior it is asking of the players.

"We're gonna have a lot of time before September 13 comes around to get a lot of good competitive work against one another."

  • Even in the absence of preseason games and inter-squad scrimmages, the Rams will still find ways to create competitive situations to evaluate their 80-man roster. One of those ways will be a couple of scrimmages at SoFi Stadium this month.
  • Besides scrimmages, the third day of the ramp-up phase in their training camp schedule – Aug. 15 – will be the first opportunity to create competition in an offense versus defense team setting, while Aug. 17 will represent the first true practice where players will be able to go up against one another in a non-walk-through setting.
  • Until then, McVay said the early phases of camp will allow the coaching staff to test players "above the neck," i.e. in non-contact settings like walk-throughs.

"If there's legitimate safety and health concerns, we're going to do nothing but support these guys."

  • The amended Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NFLPA and NFL included an option for players to opt-out of the 2020 season due concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • While offensive tackle Chandler Brewer made the decision on Friday, McVay said he does not anticipate any other Rams players to opt out before the deadline (which could reportedly be as soon as Tuesday or Wednesday).
  • McVay would be supportive if other Rams players opt out, and said it's important to continue having open and honest dialogue with them.

"It's been good. I've got a couple robo-cams following me right now, every move I make in my office, so I have zero privacy."

  • Asked about his Hard Knocks: Los Angeles experience so far, McVay gave insight on the intimate approach the film crew is taking to document the Rams' training camp.
  • For McVay, this is his second direct experience with Hard Knocks – the first was in 2016 when he was Washington's offensive coordinator. The Rams were indirectly involved last year via their inter-squad training camp scrimmage against the Oakland Raiders, who were the subject of the show's 2019 edition.
  • The first episode of Hard Knocks: Los Angeles will premiere Aug. 11 at 10 p.m. pacific time.

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