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Top takeaways from Sean McVay's press conference ahead of 2024 NFL Scouting Combine: Coaching staff additions and promotions, preparations for free agency and draft, more

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Rams head coach Sean McVay held a video conference with local media Thursday ahead of next week's 2024 NFL Scouting Combine, discussing the additions to and promotions amongst the team's 2024 coaching staff, where the team is at with planning for free agency and the draft, and more.

Here are some of the top takeaways from that conversation:

Thanking departures, expanding on promotions

McVay opened his press conference thanking the coaches from last year's staff who departed before taking questions.

On Raheem Morris, who was hired as head coach of the Falcons: "He is so deserving of the job. And you guys know, he's one of my closest friends, but he's a great leader. I think it timed up perfectly for our last three years to be in sync, and what an amazing time, what an amazing amount of experiences that we had, and can't wait to watch him go shine."

As for promotions, while defensive coordinator ultimately went to Chris Shula, McVay said they had two "tremendous" in-house candidates for defensive coordinator in Chris Shula and Aubrey Pleasant, both of whom will be "instrumental" in leading the team, especially the defense.

Expanding on Shula, McVay said it's been helpful that he's coached on all three levels of the defense. He also said Shula is passionate about the game, has a "great" vision for what he wants the defense to look like, and also praised Shula's organizational skills and presence.

McVay said Pleasant is also one of the best leaders the team has.

Tight ends coach Nick Caley adding pass game coordinator to his title, and McVay said that with the way Caley coaches the position, "you can really put yourself in a position to appreciate the nuances of everything that position is asked in terms of playing in-line, playing detached from the core, being a part of the run game, being part of protections, being part of the progressions in the pass game, and I think he's done that."

Gearing up for the draft, free agency

Meetings with draft personnel will get underway next week, according to McVay. He also confirmed that he and the coaching staff will be staying behind in Los Angeles next week rather than attending the scouting combine in Indianapolis. 

That's due in part to the amount of turnover the staff has experienced. They have made seven new hires, and the last "handful of weeks" have been spent ensuring they're not rushing the process of getting the right coaches on board. 

McVay also said location is a factor as well, in terms of traveling from Los Angeles to Indianapolis. Ultimately they trust their scouting staff with the vetting they do. 

McVay emphasized the combine still holds value – it's just that they felt their time was going to be spent more efficiently if they stayed back in L.A. Plus, a lot of the drills are filmed, and that tape is easy to acquire. He said the tape is ultimately how they evaluate prospects. 

In terms of free agency, work has already begun on the Rams roster with the release of Brian Allen on Wednesday, as well as continued negotiations with offensive lineman Coleman Shelton's representatives. McVay said the Rams are proactively having conversations with Shelton and his group about getting a deal done. L.A.'s starting center last season, Shelton has the option to void the final year of his contract and become an unrestricted free agent this spring. 

Backup quarterback is a need

With Carson Wentz a pending free agent and Stetson Bennett's situation still unresolved, a clear need for a backup quarterback on the roster exists. 

"Right now, we got Matthew Stafford, and really in our minds, we don't have a backup quarterback that's on this roster," McVay said. 

Regarding Bennett, McVay said, "I think the first thing is, you connect with him, which we'll do that at the appropriate time. And you figure out are where are you at? And is this something that we feel like is best for him and for our football team to bring him back into this ecosystem? Those will be conversations that we will have. And then I think once we have a better idea of of what we'll do with that, then that'll give clarity."

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