After extreme skepticism, Rams coach Sean McVay feels ‘a lot better now’ about season amid COVID-19

Ryan Young
·3 min read

Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay has been extremely skeptical about the possibility of a season this fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which is still raging throughout the United States.

He said late last month that he thought the start of the season would be moved back, and even asked the obvious question about how to physically play a sport that requires such close contact between so many people at one time.

[ Coronavirus: How the sports world is responding to the pandemic ]

On Sunday, however, it seems McVay is more on board with the NFL’s plans.

“I feel a lot better now, having a little bit more knowledge and understanding of — it’s really about the risk mitigation, keeping our ecosystem clear,” McVay said, via ESPN.

‘We’re going to social distance, but we play football?’

Last month during a joint media conference with Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn, McVay was confused as to how football was going to work this fall while still following social-distancing guidelines — two things that very clearly don’t go hand-in-hand.

“Is this crazy, coach Lynn?” McVay said. “We’re talking about some of this stuff and we’re playing football. I mean we’re going to social distance, but we play football?

“Hey, this is really hard for me to understand all this. I don’t want to be … I don’t get it. I really don’t.”

The NFL has since announced its safety plan, which includes both daily testing and social distancing requirements in team facilities.

Though they won’t be socially distancing on the field during a game — that’s not logistically possible — McVay sounds content with how they will be distancing during practices and team meetings.

"We're still going to play football," McVay said, via ESPN. "I think there's a better understanding of how we apply those risk mitigation practices. I made the comment about social distancing — we're not going to do that on the field, but in those meeting settings when you can do that and you're wearing your masks, those are the times that we're going to do that."

Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay
Once extremely skeptical about the season, Rams coach Sean McVay said Sunday that he feels "a lot better now." (Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

McVay: It’s about education

There were more than 4.6 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States as of Sunday afternoon, according to The New York Times, and more than 155,000 deaths attributed to it. There were nearly 516,000 confirmed cases in California alone, the most among any state in the country — almost 200,000 of them were in Los Angeles County.

The NFL is still planning to move forward with its season as scheduled. Several players have already opted out of the season due to concerns related to the virus, and both Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew and Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford were placed on the COVID-19 reserve list this weekend. Eagles coach Doug Pederson announced on Sunday that he had tested positive for the coronavirus, too.

The Rams are set to hold their first in-person team meeting on Monday — though they will do so in a parking lot while social distancing, per ESPN. In order to keep his players safe, McVay knows how important educating them on safe practices will be.

"Guys are chomping at the bit to get back and understand that that's going to be part of how we have a successful season — is guys successfully handling themselves in the right way with regards to the risk mitigation," McVay said, via ESPN. "We've always just talked about handling yourself in a professional manner outside the building for just good decision making and now that's an added part of it as we navigate through this."

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