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How the Rams learned their 2019 schedule

It's become a kind of yearly tradition inside the Rams facility at Cal Lutheran.

When the Rams are informed of the upcoming season's schedule, general manager Les Snead, head coach Sean McVay, and a few players gather in the team's draft room to hear the call from the NFL.

Is it a production somewhat designed for cameras? Sure. But that doesn't take away from the excitement of finding out where you'll be for 17 weeks in the fall.

While the Rams had found out their schedule around noon PT over the last couple years, on Wednesday the league was scheduled to call at 9:45 a.m.

Of the four screens at the front of the draft room, the two on the outside showed a rendering of the Los Angeles Stadium and Entertainment District — scheduled to be completed in time for the 2020 season. The two screens in the middle contained a program to fill in each game in each week as it was relayed over the phone.

This year, defensive tackle Aaron Donald, punter Johnny Hekker, and new safety Eric Weddle were joining Snead and McVay in the draft room to hear the schedule from NFL vice president of broadcasting, Onnie Bose.

Snead enters the room first at 9:41, proclaiming, "It's time to get mid'c up!"

He's been around the block — he knows the drill.

And if you're familiar with the videos from the past two years, you know that Snead has a penchant for giving each game a bowl name. He called last year's season opener against the Raiders "The Mentor vs. Mentee Bowl," for example.

"I don't prepare for this at all," Snead jokes of all the names.

At 9:43, Donald and McVay walk in — McVay already wearing his microphone, Donald needing to get his on. As Donald sits in the middle of the room, McVay asks with excitement, "Are you answering the phone?"

Donald nodded in the affirmative — he was looking forward to finding out when the Rams will be playing in his hometown of Pittsburgh.

Then Weddle walked in, and McVay engaged the safety in a conversation about scheme, pretty clearly reviewing something the team had just gone over in a meeting. Coaches — they can't turn it off.

Snead then tells the new safety about the bowl-naming tradition.

"There will be a Weddle bowl. We'll have a Zac Taylor bowl," Snead says, referring to the matchups with Baltimore and Cincinnati.

Naturally, as Hekker enters a few moments later and takes his seat he jokes to Snead, "Have you got all the Bowls named already?"

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Then it's time — the phone rings, the Rams answer.

Weddle is the first to speak.

"Yo, yo, yo!" he says, giving Bose a list of those who are in the room with him.

And after some back-and-forth banter — "We've got work to do!" Weddle says — Bose gets on with it.

Week 1, Rams at Panthers 10 a.m. PT.

McVay lets out a sarcastic, "Great — a two-day trip to start the year," making the room laugh.

Bose asks if everyone is ready to hear Week 2.

"We've got to get over Week 1 first — we're still recovering," Snead jokes as a reply. "We had to call timeout."

"Alright, we're good."

When Bose gets to Week 3 against the Browns, Weddle remarks, "We get them in September — that's good because it's cold."

"EW knows about Cleveland in December or November," Snead quips.

Really, there aren't as many bowl names this year, as Bose gets to go through the next few weeks uninterrupted. That is, until he reaches Week 7 — Rams at Falcons.

"It's got to be my first bowl, going back — the Les Snead Bowl," Snead says, referring to his many years in the Falcons organization.

Then the one the Rams already knew: Week 8 vs. the Bengals in London.

"That's the Zac Taylor bowl, that one's easy," Snead says.

Following the bye, the room gets perhaps the most anticipated matchup — at least for the reigning AP Defensive Player of the Year: Week 10, at Pittsburgh.

"That's homecoming," Snead says to Donald. Then he jokes, "Hey, coach McVay, are you going to let him stay back for the homecoming dance?"

"…no," McVay replies, eliciting laughter.

That was the funniest moment of the morning.

Monday Night Football in Week 12 against the Ravens is "The Weddle Bowl," as Bose continues through the next few weeks unencumbered through Week 17.

"There it is, boys," Weddle says.

"Three Sunday night games," McVay says. "OK."

"Three Sunday night — Al Michaels is jacked," Snead says, referring to the legendary NBC broadcaster.

"Good luck this season," Bose says as he ends his Rams call likely to begin another with one of the other 32 teams.

At that point, those in the room pull out their phones to take pictures of the full schedule. It can't go public until 5 o'clock PT, but those in the organization can at least start planning for the year.

"My big worries were Pittsburgh and Cleveland late," Hekker says, "because it's going to be cold—"

"Man, it ain't gonna be cold, man," Donald says with a chuckle, cutting off his punter.

"Kickers don't like the cold."

"With that strong leg you've got, you'll be fine."

The players and coaches then remove their mics to get back to work. After all, there's a season to prepare for.

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