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When Rams open offseason program, focus will be on present — not the past

When the Rams assemble for the start of their offseason program on April 15, they'll do so knowing that 2019 is a new year.

There will be new players to integrate into the system, new coaches to get familiar with.

But there's also a factor that Los Angeles may have to combat — the dreaded Super Bowl hangover.

You've probably heard about it. When a team loses the Super Bowl, it's difficult for that club to make it back to the postseason the following year. In just the last few years, for example, it's happened to the Panthers after their appearance in Super Bowl 50. And it happened to the Falcons after their appearance in Super Bowl LI.

The Patriots, of course, are the exception — reaching the playoffs every season since 2009, and winning three of the last five Lombardi Trophies.

At this week's league meetings in Phoenix, head coach Sean McVay told assembled reporters that he has spoken to Atlanta head coach Dan Quinn about learning lessons from losing the last game of the season.

"But at the end of the day, I think it happens to be the last game so it gets talked about a lot. But that was a blessing to our team to even be in that position," McVay said. "And 2019 is a new season. I don't think you want to lose sight of some of the things foundationally that we've been able to develop over the last couple years. But you've got to earn it every single day."

Earning it every single day — that's something McVay has stressed since he became Los Angeles' head coach back in January 2017. Even in his introductory press conference, McVay spoke of creating a team that was focused on daily improvement and daily excellence. Those are the kinds of core principles that the Rams will focus on to begin the offseason program.

"I think we talk about not letting one game ever define you," McVay said. "And clearly that's a big game, and it's the first time we've ever navigated through it as a coaching staff. But it's going back to the foundational principles, some of the core values that you want to operate with — just in terms of being in the present, producing in that given day. And those are things that we'll go back to doing.

"I think we've got to understand that every year presents new challenges. But foundationally, there's a lot of the same things that we'll continue to do moving forward. But last year is last year. You want to learn from every single game. The Super Bowl provides a great learning opportunity for us."

That being said, McVay realizes that there will be a bit of a balancing act between using the past as fuel, and not letting it affect what has to happen in order to be successful in 2019.

"I think everybody talks about the consistency at what New England's been able to do, and you look at the way they responded to a great game [in the Super Bowl] against Philly and they found a way to consistently produce and then find a way to get it done this year," McVay said. "For us, it's not about the end goal — it's about producing in the present. And that's what we'll consistently focus on.

"I think everybody that has a natural inclination to say, 'Oh, you'll be back' — it's not like that at all. For us, it's about building one day at a time, and understanding that there's 31 other teams that have the same goals that we do, and great coaches, great players. And we've got to do it the right way. And, again, not lose sight of what helped us have success over the last couple year.s But we've got to adjust, adapt, evolve, and then figure out the 2019 Rams specific to our players and our coaches — how can we figure out [how] to be the best versions of ourselves every single day."

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