THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Rams head coach Sean McVay held an end-of-season video conference with reporters on Wednesday, covering injury updates on tight end Tyler Higbee and running back Kyren Williams, when the coaching staff will reconvene to evaluate the roster, that staff's continuity and more.
Here are some of the key takeaways from that conversation:
Higbee could be candidate for PUP list after tearing ACL and MCL vs. Lions
McVay shared unfortunate news about Higbee, confirming that he tore his ACL and clarifying that he also tore his MCL in last Sunday's playoff game.
The timeline is still to be determined, in part due to how the surgery goes and what gets discovered during it. But because the injury happened this late in the season, McVay said Higbee could be possibly go on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list.
Roster evaluation to take place after Super Bowl
Asked if he had a preliminary idea of the team's roster needs, McVay said "it was really early for that" and indicated it would be a few weeks before the staff reconvenes to sort that out, especially to give the coaching carousel across the league time to sort itself out.
"I think there are so many emotions right after the season and like I had mentioned to you guys when I spoke to you after the game, a lot of appreciation for this group," McVay said. "There will obviously be changes like there are every single year in the NFL. I think once you get a chance to step back… I think it's really good to be able to give the coaches off until after the Super Bowl. That allows some of the things with the coaching carousel to clear up and then it allows us to be able to have a fresh set of eyes to evaluate the tape, our players, and all the different things that we want to address to improve our football team moving forward."
Coaching staff should mostly have continuity going into 2024
McVay said that if there are any changes to his coaching staff, it will only be "because of better opportunities."
Defensive line coach/run game coordinator Eric Henderson was hired by USC as its co-defensive coordinator, defensive line coach and run game coordinator this week. Defensive coordinator Raheem Morris has head coach interviews with the Panthers, Falcons, Chargers, Commanders and was requested for the same interview by the Seahawks. Meanwhile, quarterbacks coach/pass game coordinator Zac Robinson reportedly was requested by the Saints to interview for their offensive coordinator job.
"I feel really good about our coaching staff," McVay said. "I think it was good to be able to have a lot of the continuity. Obviously, there could be some chips that end up falling into place relative to Raheem getting an opportunity to be a head coach. If that doesn't occur and people don't get better opportunities, then we'll have the same group back."
And here's what McVay had to say about Henderson's departure:
"He's been awesome. Came here in 2019, basically established his own culture within the defensive line room. He's had a really good track record of developing people, building relationships with our players. I think there's a toughness, there's an identity that we played with on the defensive line that is a real credit to him. It was a unique opportunity, and this was something that came up a few weeks ago. Obviously, we love Eric Henderson and think the world of him, but I think it was one of those opportunities where he got a chance to work with some previous relationships.
"Obviously, SC's an incredible program. I think very highly of (USC Head Coach) Lincoln (Riley) and what those guys will continue to do there. It was a good chance for he and his family to do something that was in alignment with some of his goals. Nothing but love on my side and we've got some capable guys. I thought (Assistant Defensive Line Coach) AC Carter did a great job working alongside him this year, but I think the appropriate direction to go is wait to see what exactly happens with Raheem before I make any decisions as it relates to any possible openings on the defensive side of the ball."
Full commitment to Stafford in 2024
Quarterback Matthew Stafford said his plan is to return in 2024. McVay likewise reiterated the team's full support to having him back.
"A hundred percent, absolutely. Unequivocally, yes," McVay said. Yes, I totally understand it (the question). But, oh man, that would be a good way to get me really riled up. No, we're ready to go. He's ready to go and couldn't be more committed to having him lead us next year."