Los Angeles Rams
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McVay faces short-week challenge for first time as head coach
Even if the Los Angeles Rams wanted to dwell on the mostly self-inflicted loss they suffered Sunday against the Redskins, they simply have no time to do so.
Their once-a-season Thursday night game arrives early this season as the San Francisco 49ers beckon in Santa Clara.
That leaves them no time to reflect on what might have been and opportunity lost against the Redskins.
The Rams canceled practice on Monday and held a short workout Tuesday. Sans physical work, they focused instead on above-the-head in preparation for the 49ers. It's all part of first-year head coach Sean McVay's approach to his first short week as a head coach.
"It's a big challenge. Whether you're a head coach or any coach. Any time that you condense a week that you're normally accustomed to having a handful of days more and you get the same amount of work in, it definitely does pose some challenges," he said. "But, it's also important for us to be aware of that so that you don't put too much on your players - figure out what they're comfortable with. But also, what are some things that attack the offensive or defensive scheme and some of the things that we'll do special-teams wise. It's a balance that we have to do a good job of as coaches and try to help our players so that Thursday is as seamless as possible, on a short week, knowing all the factors that are involved."
Much of what the Rams will focus on defensively is tightening up a run defense that gave up more than 200 yards Sunday against Washington. Some of the credit for the success goes to the Redskins, but the Rams absolutely have to do better.
"I think really, credit to Washington. I think they did a nice job with some perimeter schemes, some gap and trap-type stuff," McVay said. "And I thought as the game settled down, the defense kind of settled into the game and did a much better job in the second half. There were a couple big plays in that first half and then obviously that 61-yard draw that they hit was a big play for them. But, as the game progressed, I thought the guys settled in. But again, credit to Washington, I thought they did a nice job with some of the things that they were running schematically and they made those plays."
Thursday offers a unique situation in that both the Rams and 49ers are led by first-year head coaches. And with only two games for both McVay and Kyle Shanahan's tenures, getting a read on either could be difficult.
"Yeah, I think it does. I think it does make it a little bit more difficult just because like you mentioned you don't have the amount information you're typically accustomed to when you get ready for a normal opponent," McVay said. "But, it was a very similar type of deal for getting ready for Washington defensively last week. Those are things that we have to be ready to adjust to. I think when you look at their offense we've got some people that are familiar with some of the things that Kyle (Shanahan) has had a lot of success with over the course of his career and then I think (49ers defensive coordinator) Robert Saleh has done an excellent job these first couple weeks of putting their defense in a lot of good situations."
SERIES HISTORY: 135th regular-season meeting. 49ers lead series, 67-64-3. It's almost unfathomable this series is as close as it is considering the 49ers won 17 straight against the Rams during a span from 1990 through 1998 that covered Los Angeles and St. Louis. In fact, the 49ers have currently won three straight against the Rams.