THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – The Rams had a little over eight weeks to celebrate their Super Bowl LVI victory and recover from a 2021 season that, between the preseason and the playoffs, spanned 24 weeks.
On Tuesday, they reconvened after that short turnaround for the start of the 2022 offseason program, focused on looking ahead.
"You're not naive to the fact that you're the reigning champs, but that means nothing for the upcoming season," McVay said during a video conference with reporters Tuesday afternoon. "I think it's a brand new year, brand new team, and all 32 teams have the same old mission. But for us, I think there's a humility with the leadership that we have in this group that understands we've got to get better every single day we can."
That forward-thinking mentality reflected itself in many ways beyond McVay's own words.
The Rams begin their spring workouts with six new assistant coaches on staff (though one is back for their second stint with the team in offensive coordinator Liam Coen) and new players in the building like free agent signees Allen Robinson II and Bobby Wagner. It won't be long before this year's rookie class joins them.
Wide receiver Cooper Kupp, for all his accolades and statistical success in 2021, was thinking about how he could self-scout his own performance and improve in 2022.
"There's so many things that you can go through from last year," Kupp said during a video conference Tuesday. "Like, how are you hitting these blocks? How are you going to get off the ball? How efficient were you against press coverage? How good were you with your hand or your footwork? With how precise were you when you're running these routes?"
Meanwhile, quarterback Matthew Stafford's goal is to continue gaining ownership of the offense in Year 2 with the Rams.
"And at the same time, sometimes the best way to be able to do that is to be able to teach it to guys," Stafford said. "So I'm gonna do everything I can to try and help Allen Robinson along, help some of these young guys along. Just being in those situations where mentally you are challenged is what makes you sharp and makes you on this thing."
Structurally, the Rams will benefit from a return to normalcy as they seek to accomplish those goals and other objectives. The offseason program is back to a traditional three-phase format – Phase I, which consists of meetings, strength and conditioning and physical rehabilitation work exclusively, began today – after modified versions over the last two years to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"It allows for a different teaching progression based on the way that the offseason program is just set up in terms of phase one, phase two, and phase three," McVay said. "And so I want to make sure guys are enjoying this, learning, being able to get around their teammates again, working out a little bit and and that's kind of the approach that we're taking."
The success of 2021 will never be forgotten, but at this point is in the past. It's now onward to 2022.
"We know it's going to be different than the year before, and it's on us to be the best versions of ourselves as a team and as individuals in this upcoming season," Stafford said.