Through seven games, the Rams are 5-2 for the first time since 2003.
After defeating Arizona 33-0 in London on Sunday, Los Angeles has received praise and accolades from all across the media landscape. Power rankings don't necessarily mean much when it comes to tangible measurements of how good a team is. But right now the Rams are among the top 10 in nearly every outlet you find — and as high as No. 2 on NFL.com.
Every team's goal at the beginning of the season is to win its division and make the playoffs. At this point, that looks attainable for this year's Rams. But while 5-2 is a good start and puts the club on the right track, it's not like L.A. is looking too far ahead.
"I think the great thing about what our team has done and, really, what we've done with our approach is [it's] just one day at a time, one week at a time," head coach Sean McVay said on Tuesday, mentioning he's told the team, "'Who were you talking about after seven weeks in the NFL last year? What were guys' record?' Nobody cares. Because, really, it's about what you do at the end."
Veteran left tackle Andrew Whitworth was a part of his share of playoff teams in his 11 seasons with the Bengals. And because of that, the Rams' captain knows that it takes to reach the postseason. He said on Tuesday that McVay set the club on the right path during the offseason, implementing a successful kind of mindset and mentality.
Check out the best shots from the Rams' Week 7 win over the Cardinals in London.
"We talk all the time about 'The Standard,' and, really, what we expect from every guy every day, and the daily improvement, and the daily things that we want guys to do," Whitworth said. "And I think, having been on teams that have made runs and gone to the playoffs, it's important that myself and other guys who have ever been in that situation continue to encourage guys to realize the standard has got to keep rising. The season goes on, the expectation will grow, the pressure will grow, the games will get better. And your standard of what is good and what is expected out of you has to rise with it.
"And so, that's really going to be the hard part of going forward, is it's not easy to do," Whitworth continued. "And we've got to continue to raise our level and raise what we expect of ourselves."
Players appear to be taking that approach to heart. After Sunday's game, quarterback Jared Goff was asked about how it feels to be 5-2 and replied in a way that made it clear he's looking to keep improving.
"It feels good. You know I kind of say it every week — we like where we're at for sure," Goff said. "Especially going into this bye week, that was the goal two weeks ago when we lost to Seattle — it was to win the last two, go into the bye week 5-2. And we're here now, we did it. And after a win like that, it feels good. But I think, again, like I've said before, we're never really content. We're happy with the way we played, but we expect to play well and tonight that showed."
That attitude is likely why when reporters brought up the Rams' record and possibly being a playoff team over the last few days, players all dismissed that kind of talk as something for the media.
"It's a long season — that's for you guys to really say," middle linebacker Alec Ogletree said. "But as a team we definitely have a lot of confidence in what we're doing here and we expect to play well each and every week. And when you have that confidence and belief in each other, you have good results. So we are just going keep plugging along, take it one game at a time, one day at a time, and just get better."
"I mean, you have to hang your head on what coach says: 'Don't worry about the outside noise because it can be a distraction,'" right guard Jamon Brown said. "The main thing and the main focus of our team has been making sure we keep everything in house, and making sure we know what we have to do moving forward. We know that when it looks pretty everybody is going to be hanging on your coat tails, but when it's ugly everybody wants to shy away from you. So I think that's the main thing just staying focused on our room and our team and what we want to do."
And so as the Rams depart for a few days off for the bye week, they know they're in a good place. But there's no sense of complacency within the club. And that starts with the head coach.
"We are 5-2, we've done a good job putting ourselves in a position [to be successful]," McVay said. "And certainly there is a lot of improvement that can take place in all three phases. Guys know that, and I think if we're going to continue on this path, it's got to be just one day at a time, one week at a time.
"I think guys have earned the right to enjoy their bye week, get back, get away, get refreshed, get recharged," McVay continued, "and then when we come back we've got to get ready to go against the Giants. We'll keep that same approach and that preparation and hopefully it will lead to good performances for the rest of the year."