Even with the extensive digital experience gained from preparing for a virtual draft over the last month, the Rams found they still are not totally immune to the occasional tech hiccup as their virtual offseason program got underway Monday.
"It was pretty smooth, other than my first team invite where it was a team meeting (and) I somehow disconnected the only enable audio on the telephone setting, (which) provided some good comic relief for guys," head coach Sean McVay said on a video conference Monday afternoon. "I was feeling myself a little too much on this IT and got a dose of humble pie this morning."
Small hiccup aside, the Rams were otherwise able to start without a hitch, with the offseason program structure in place.
The first three weeks of the nine-week program will feature 90-minute meetings four days a week, with special teams days later on in the offseason. McVay expects all 9 weeks will be done this way, with 6 weeks virtual and 3 weeks at facility as the best-case scenario.
Rookies cannot get involved until May 11, when clubs' Rookie Football Development Programs are scheduled to begin. Other than that, though, McVay said "everybody was there" for today's meeting and that "all of our players are going to participate."
Outside of meetings, coaching staff will be communicating with Rams players to hold them accountable for workouts during the virtual offseason program, but won't be monitoring otherwise because they trust players will be responsible. Players were sent tablets as a supplemental tool to study the playbook and other lessons.
"That's a good reference point, whether it be through videos or just through you know, some of the playbook applications we have on those," McVay said. "To be able to follow along, we'll do some things like video voiceovers, that guys can use as a reference point as well. It's really beneficial for for coaches and for the players."
McVay is also seeking creative solutions to make the meetings engaging.
On Saturday, he revealed he has had conversations with Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers about ways to do so. McVay said he is looking to bring Rivers in an as a guest speaker to the team during one of its meetings this week and also hoping to connect with Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts to do the same next week.
"They say 12 minutes is that ideal timespan," McVay said of Rivers' advice. "So, we don't want to have sort of meeting block go more than 12 and 20 minutes at a time. Making sure that it's a mix of film, but also the conversation, always splicing in some TV clips is a good way, as long as they say nice things about the players from the commentary (laughs)."
From a player's perspective, believes the new format has its benefits and drawbacks.
"It's just gonna be a little tough with some guys that are more active learners that need to be on the field to learn it and have it stick in their minds and stuff," Reynolds said. "But I think ultimately it gives guys a new way to study and learn different things."
The delay due to the disconnected audio lasted only 10 minutes, according to Reynolds, but once smoothed out, the rest of the meeting went fine.
"The whole time, we were all trying to hear each other," Reynolds said, laughing. "It was definitely interesting, but good to see everybody's face.""