In the big-picture world Sean McVay now oversees in Los Angeles, the events that unfolded on Saturday should have elicited a wide smile.
The Rams defense was flying all over the field, making life difficult for quarterback Jared Goff both in pressure created and blanketing his wide receivers with air-tight coverage. Even on a first day of training camp and with everyone running around in shorts and helmets and All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald holed up somewhere in a contract dispute, it was a thing of beauty the show the Rams defense put on.
McVay, the Rams’ 31-year-old first-year head coach, should have been ecstatic.
But he wasn’t.
Not by a long shot.
The former offensive coordinator in him was seething. Rather than seeing things from the 10,000-foot vantage point he now occupies as the leader of both sides of the ball, he was viewing practice through the narrow offensive-centric lens he’s worn for most of his coaching career.
From which, the defense is the enemy that needs to be crushed.
The setting doesn’t matter in the least, be it practice, games, a walk-through or 7-on-7 or 11-on-11 drills.
For that matter, it could be a pickup game in the back yard.
The point is to win the battle.
And when the offense doesn’t carry out the order – and worse, looks sloppy and overmatched in the process – veins start popping, the curse words grow more colorful and the anger escalates.
Which is precisely the reaction McVay had Saturday when the Rams defense pretty much whipped up on the offense like UFC champ Jon Jones did Daniel Cormier later that night.
All of a sudden McVay was back to being an offensive coordinator and his beloved unit was getting the snot beat out of it.
And he was fuming. A sentiment that carried with him well after practice ended.
McVay could laugh about it a little bit by Sunday, partially because the Rams offense rebounded with a much more crisp, much more competitive afternoon. But also because he heeded the positive reinforcement from Rams staffers who, noticing his discontent, reminded him he now runs the whole show these days and not just half of it.
In other words, he’s perfectly within his right to now feel quite good when one side of the ball is flexing like the Rams defense did Saturday. They’re no longer the enemy. They’re under his command. Given that context, he was able to eventually see the light.
“Absolutely, as a coach it’s about winning football games, and any time you have a great defense you…