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From the Podium: Sean McVay, Johnny Hekker and Matt Gay talk joint practice takeaways, special teams impressions

IRVINE, Calif. – Head coach Sean McVay, punter Johnny Hekker and kicker Matt Gay each held press conferences with local media Monday following the ninth practice of 2021 Rams Training Camp presented by UNIFY Financial Credit Union, discussing additional takeaways from Saturday's joint practice with the Cowboys, their impressions of Los Angeles' special teams so far, and more.

Here are some of the highlights and key takeaways from those conversations, which you can watch in their entirety below:

"It's hard to say because in so many of those settings it's a scripted practice, you're not really planning it out. But I saw a bunch of good competitive work." – McVay

  • While it's difficult to say what he saw on offense and defense in Saturday's joint practice with the Cowboys, McVay was still pleased with what the Rams were able to get accomplished.
  • Some of the specific positive takeaways McVay had: He liked the way the Rams pursued the ball, and "kept off on the runners and got 11 guys to the ball." He praised L.A.'s communication and rush patterns as well, which he said was a credit to defensive line coach/run game coordinator Eric Henderson and his group.

"If we have any identity, we're a group that has a lot of fun when we're working, but we work really hard as well." – Hekker

  • Similar to last year, the Rams' special teams has quite a few new faces, but the atmosphere of a closer-to-normal training camp experience has allowed them to get more continuity this year.
  • Naturally, new special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis has also had a hand in shaping the group's identity. "We're just trying to absorb every bit of knowledge that we can from him as well as injecting the things that we know are good from things we've had in the past and really just creating something new for our team," Hekker said.

"Special teams, I take in that we're a smart football team. Special teams has got a lot of guys that are willing to work and I think that's the big key with special teams, is guys buying in on special teams." – Gay

  • For Gay, Saturday's joint practice with the Cowboys in Oxnard showed the total buy-in of the Rams' current group of specialists and a reliable core group.
  • "We're going to have some guys that are making plays on special teams and it's going to be a big difference maker for us going forward this season," Gay said.

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