THOUSAND OAKS – In a literal sense, time didn’t really start flying by faster once Sean McVay took over as the head coach of the Rams.
Each day is still made up of 24 hours spread across 1,440 minutes.
None of that changed a month ago when the Rams made McVay the youngest head coach in NFL history after hiring the former Washington assistant to replace Jeff Fisher.
In a figurative sense, though, it just seems like every clock McVay deals with these days is powered by liquid hydrogen. That might explain how he’s up and at ’em at the crack of dawn each morning with a specific task to tackle first, only to glance at the clock what seems like a minute or two later and realize it’s already past 8 p.m.
Meanwhile, the thing he set out to finish first went undone.
Yet a million other things he never even accounted for got dealt with.
“You get pulled in a bunch of different directions,” McVay said, smiling.
It’s one of the big differences he’s noticed since becoming a head coach. Time isn’t his friend. And surprises are lurking behind every corner.
“I think you’re just surprised by the reality of, when you sit down to do something at six in the morning and then it’s 8:30 at night and here I am ready to do that thing that I set out to do at six in the morning,” he said.
Good thing he had the innate sense to construct a coaching staff uniquely skilled to accommodate his new reality.
Tasked with turning around a tortured franchise that hasn’t had a winning season in 13 years, injecting life into an offense for which last rites have been read more than once and developing a second-year quarterback the Rams invested six draft picks into acquiring, McVay has tripled down on the primary skill that landed him the job in the first place.
The offensive-minded and experienced McVay has surrounded himself with more than two decades worth of offensive expertise.
Specifically, quarterback development experience.
Which makes sense considering the investment the Rams made in Goff and the importance of developing him into a quarterback worthy of the first pick in the 2016 draft and the face of the franchise.
They must lift the offense to at least a respectable level in order to complement a defense that is playoff-caliber.
New offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur was the quarterbacks coach for Washington from 2010 to 2013 and the Atlanta Falcons the last two seasons.
Quarterbacks coach Greg Olson has held the same position with the 49ers, Bears, Lions, Buccaneers and Jaguars and was the offensive coordinator for the Oakland Raiders for two seasons.
And new assistant wide receivers coach Zac Taylor was the Dolphins quarterbacks coach from 2013 to 2015.
That’s a ton of eye balls to put on the offense and even more voices and opinions on how best to develop Goff. And opinions are already being formulated.
“The ceiling is really high with this player in my mind,” Olson said. “Unbelievable arm talent, he’s had that since high school. From being up in the Bay Area, I’ve kind of known about him. When he went to Cal, I had the chance to follow him there early on in his career at Cal. I’ve always felt like this guy’s got tremendous arm talent and that’s a start in my opinion.
“You look to evaluate this position, it’s what type of arm talent does that player have. Certainly, a very intelligent player when you look at his test scores and what he was able to do as a student. There are a lot of intangibles there as well. You’ve all heard about him growing up from high school, through college and in the NFL, tremendous work ethic.”
Credit McVay, though, for being savvy enough to realize the need for experienced and varied voices to carry out his vision now that a good chunk of his time will be devoted to the rest of the team.
“I certainly don’t know, because I’ve never experienced it, but you talk to people who have been in the role that I’m getting ready to take on, and you know you want to be involved in the offense, but there’s going to be times where you’re going to be pulled in different directions,” McVay said. “That’s why it’s very important to have Matt and Greg in place where if you’re not able to be a part of the offensive meetings, or whatever is going on, you trust that their leadership will continue to have that same messaging, so that our quarterbacks know exactly what the expectations are.”
The danger, of course, is enabling so many voices and creating a convoluted message, especially to the player upon whom the Rams have staked so much of their future.
For Goff to move forward in a steady, productive manner, several coaches with track records of developing quarterbacks need to get on the same page and deliver their sermons in a unified manner.
“It’s very important for us to all be on the same page.” McVay said.
It’s up to him to formulate the lesson. It’s on LaFleur and Olsen to articulate it.
The key will be consistency.
The good news is, McVay worked previously with both LaFleur and Olson. As a result, chemistry and symmetry should not be an issue.
And the respect is obvious.
“I got a chance to work with Coach Olson my first year in Tampa,” McVay said. “He’s a great communicator. I really had a lot of respect for him, because when I finished playing at Miami (Ohio), he was one of the coaches who kind of took me under his wing, helped kind of guide me. I always appreciated watching him from afar how he communicated with his guys.
“He was always taking time during those periods that might not have been focused on offense, but if it’s special teams, defensive periods, he was always making sure those guys were working. He’s a guy that we’ve kept in touch throughout the course of our coaching careers. He was a guy, when he became available, I wanted to get him to be a part of this staff.
“You look at (Matt) LaFleur that we’re going to be able to have as our offensive coordinator. He’s a guy that we were able to develop a really close relationship with in Washington. Detail-oriented, good communicator, been around some of the most productive offenses over the last couple of years. You look at what Atlanta was able to do. A lot of the things that we do philosophically will be very similar.”
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