After weeks of practices and a few exhibition games, the NFL preseason comes to a close this week. Head coach Sean McVay has said the Rams will shift some of their focus to the regular-season opener against the Colts, holding out those on the first-team units in this week's contest against the Packers.
"The plan is to stay with probably resting our starters and trying to get them some good work this week on the practice field and then starting to gear up looking forward to that Indy game," McVay said on Monday.
This year, the league rules changed allowing teams to keep 90 players on their rosters for all four preseason games. Previously, teams had to cut down to 75 men following the third exhibition contest. That's why the rule change is especially beneficial to those who may not have had a chance to impress before.
Check out photos from the Rams' preseason game against the Chargers.
"I think what it's enabled us to do is feel good about knowing that the guys that you're projected as your starters — you can hold out, maybe ramp it up a little bit more with them in practice as opposed to if they had to get ready for a game," McVay said. "Then, like I've said before, I think it offers the unique opportunity for a handful of guys that would've been cut, to be able to put some good game film on tape in that fourth preseason game. If it doesn't work out for us, hopefully it will work out for one of the other 31 teams.
"You give guys a chance where they don't have to play that whole preseason game that maybe have gotten a lot of work — where it might offer a [quarterback] Dan Orlovsky to get more snaps, because of Sean Mannion's experience he's gotten," McVay added. "Might offer a chance to see some of those guys like the [tight end] Travis Wilsons, like the [tight end] John Mundts that we mentioned to get more snaps than they would've otherwise."
Following Thursday's game, McVay will go through his first cut-down day as a head coach. However, he was heavily involved in the process during his time as Washington's offensive coordinator, assisting head coach Jay Gruden.
"I think you always have a bottom line number in place for certain spots with how to get to that 53," McVay said. "But, what I thought Jay and [team president] Bruce [Allen] and when I was working with [former General Manager] Scott McCloughan — I thought they did such a good job of, 'Let's not be aware of the 53, but what's your 46 on game day?', where you might be able to keep some extra players at certain spots, if you do have some depth and some good football players.
"I think just being around some people that did it the right way was very helpful," McVay continued. "But, we've got a lot of people in place here, both from the coaching and the personnel staff that we'll rely on to be able to come to those decisions that are best for our organization." Those are things that we're talking about right now, [Sunday] — all morning projecting that knowing that the next week will offer some changes to that. But, you still always want to have that big picture perspective in mind."