THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – It was a busy Wednesday for the Rams with head coach Sean McVay, multiple offensive assistant coaches and several players holding Super Bowl LVI video conferences with local, national and international media. Among those participating:
- Running backs coach/assistant head coach Thomas Brown
- Offensive coordinator Kevin O'Connell
- Offensive line coach Kevin Carberry
- Tight ends coach/pass game coordinator Wes Phillips
- Wide receivers coach Eric Yarber
- Quarterback Matthew Stafford
- Offensive lineman Brian Allen
- Tight end Kendall Blanton
- Defensive lineman Greg Gaines
- Kicker Matt Gay
- Offensive lineman David Edwards
- Outside linebacker Von Miller
- Defensive lineman A'Shawn Robinson
- Running back Sony Michel
Here are some of the highlights and key takeaways from those virtual conversations:
"I feel great. I just sound like sh–." – McVay
- McVay raspy voice heard on his press conference wasn't yelling over the wind in Thousand Oaks – he was in his office briefly on Tuesday, then he went to speak to other members of the coaching staff and his voice sounded like that.
- "I got the honey, I got all the remedies going, and we'll get this voice back," McVay said.
"Being able to have all three guys have capabilities on all three downs, to be good in the run game on known (down-and-distance), inside the tackle box, out in space, but also being able to create mismatches in the passing game is a huge advantage for us." – Brown
- With running back Darrell Henderson Jr. expected to play on Sunday according to McVay's comments to pool reporter Jarrett Bell of USA Today, the Rams will have three complete running backs to incorporate, along with Michel and Cam Akers.
- Michel had 973 yards from scrimmage and five total touchdowns in the regular season, Henderson 864 yards from scrimmage and eight total touchdowns prior to his injury. Akers has 213 total yards through three playoff games in his return from injury.
"It's a huge story of our team this year." – O'Connell
- Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is deserving of all the credit for what he's accomplished since joining the Rams, according to O'Connell, and that has been a big part of their success this season.
- Beckham had nine catches for 113 yards in the Rams' NFC Championship win over the 49ers, and also had a stretch of six touchdowns scored in eight games between the regular season and playoffs.
"You want a group that finishes plays." – Carberry
- Asked about the identity he wanted to establish for the Rams offensive line in his first season working with the group, Carberry pointed out the aforementioned demeanor.
- Perhaps the best indicator of that identity being established was when Carberry followed up with Mike Pope – a tight ends coach for the Giants on their Super Bowl-winning team in 2011 that was honored at halftime of the Rams-Giants game in the Meadowlands during the regular season, and also later worked with Carberry on the Cowboys coaching staff – and Pope told him he noticed how the group was always helping the backup and always seeing the linemen downfield and always helping the ball carrier up.
"I appreciate the fact that he takes responsibility for his own career." – Phillips
- Blanton's ascension is due in large part to the ownership he's taken over his development, via taking the coaching from Phillips, working hard and spending extra time with Phillips.
- Blanton had the biggest game of his career to date with his five catches for 57 yards against the 49ers in the NFC Championship, stepping up in place of an injured Tyler Higbee.
"Cooper, he rarely makes mistakes. But if he does make a mistake, he lets that go." – Yarber
- One under-the-radar component to wide receiver Cooper Kupp's success this season, according to Yarber, is Kupp's ability to quickly move past the few mistakes he's made and not let them affect his play.
- As an example, Yarber pointed to when Kupp dropped the ball against the 49ers, but nobody would've known he had based his body language and how he didn't negatively react to the play.
"It's changed a lot since I was a young player. There's probably some photos of me floating around there of me at 235 pounds, enjoying life back in the day, playing a little bit of ball at a heavier weight." – Stafford
- Having played 13 NFL seasons, living a healthy lifestyle becomes "more and more important" for Stafford over the course of his career.
- Stafford said he leans a lot on the Rams' training staff to keep him healthy.
"Get out your notebook. I could sit next to him every day." – Allen
- Having a resource like 16-year veteran Andrew Whitworth in the offensive line room is "a blessing," Allen said.
- Whitworth is set to become the oldest offensive lineman to play in a Super Bowl on Sunday when the Rams take on the Bengals.
"I figured it would just be a quiet place to get my mind right, refocus on my roots." – Blanton
- For Blanton, training at his alma mater Mizzou last offseason was just what he needed.
- While the coaching staff was different from the one when he played there, they welcomed him with open arms. "They helped me out a lot and I'm very appreciative of that," Blanton said.
"A'Shawn is an animal out there. He's been playing so good." – Gaines
- Robinson has come up big during the Rams' playoff run, making 16 total tackles – including six in the NFC Championship game.
- "He's really took a step up this year," Gaines said.
"When you got a guy like (Brandon Powell) who's done what he's done, brings some juice, guys want to play, guys want to block a little longer, guys want to try a little harder because they believe in the guy that's returning the ball, that he can make a difference in the game." – Gay
- One of the turning points in the performance of the Rams' special teams play this season, according to Gay, was the spark wide receiver Brandon Powell provided returning kicks starting with the Jaguars game.
- Powell averaged 22.2 yards per punt return and 26 yards per kickoff return in six regular season games.
"The injury that he went through and the rehab he had to go through took a lot of mental toughness and a lot of physical toughness." – Edwards
- Edwards is proud of how Allen has come back from his 2020 injury to perform at the level he has this season.
- "He's got an incredibly bright future in this league, and I think the world of him," Edwards said.
"Every time I go out there, I want to have a crazy day." – Miller
- Miller has 14 pressures this postseason, but there's no exact rhyme or reason to that success other than his natural drive.
- As a pass-rushing group, Miller said "it feels good to have success."
"This whole team deserves this." – Robinson
- For Robinson, it's not just about winning the Super Bowl for one person – it's for the entire team because of how hard they've worked to this point.
- "It's just wanting to finish for one another, not just finish for one," Robinson said.
"I wouldn't say experience is the biggest thing, I would say preparation is." – Michel
- Michel's takeaway from being able to win a Super Bowl while with the Patriots: Being prepared.
- "For a guy that hasn't been here or a guy that has been here, if you're not prepared, you won't be ready for the opportunity," Michel said.