LA Rams press conference introduces DC Brandon Staley

(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

The LA Rams held a February 12 press conference to introduce 3 new coordinators, including defensive coordinator Brandon Staley

The LA Rams made it a point to introduce three new coaches, but also made it a point to acknowledge the contributions of coaches which are no longer with the Rams coaching staff.

Sean McVay opened to press conference to highlight some similar traits found in offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell, defensive coordinator Brandon Staley, and special teams coordinator John Bonamego: their teaching ability, their integrity as human beings, and their ability to inspire players. He pointed out that all have the ability and capacity to connect with players and other coaches. McVay also mentioned the addition of running backs coach Thomas Brown. McVay talked at length about competing against him and laying out how Brown enjoyed a seamless transition from player to coach. He also mentioned the addition of defensive quality control coach Jonathon Cooley.

Coach McVay hopes to foster healthy competition among his coaching staff. That type of fraternal bonding where each coach learns from but also vies to outdo the other coaches on a weekly basis. He envisions a culture of self-correcting and perpetual improvement, wisely pointing out that type of culture created by coaches will infuse in players by osmosis.

Homage to Wade Phillips

McVay dodged the question over why Wade Phillips was released, quickly deflecting the topic to what new defensive coordinator Brandon Staley will bring to the role. McVay emphasized the collaboration of Staley with other defensive coaches, a point we’d guessed was an area McVay wants to improve upon going forward. He has sat in on some of Staley’s staff coach meetings and voiced his approval in the new collaborative formats Staley brings with him to defensive coaching gatherings.

McVay further elaborated he was a young 30-year-old hire and acknowledged that his opportunity to become a head coach of the LA Rams happened because Wade Phillips was on board to run the defense.

Once more, turning back to Brandon Staley, McVay shared a common philosophical approach to both offense and defense mindsets and emphasized that his philosophy aligns with that of Staley. McVay claimed that he feels he loves football as much as anybody, but yielded that his passion may be dwarfed by Staley “This guy is sicker than I am”.

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3-4,. but oh so much more

Of course, McVay aimed the question to “it always starts with the players” and how do coaches maximize the performance of the players. Staley arrived with a clear vision of how to best accentuate each Rams player, which impressed McVay greatly. He emphasized that the team will stick with the same foundations, the 3-4 defense, but also suggested that the team will be changing up different situational responsibilities and nuances.

McVay described the “word of mouth” endorsements he received from a select few trusted individuals.  He mentioned Vic Fangio personally, and that he gave a very strong endorsement for Brandon Staley to McVay.  He then moved on to describe Staley’s passion for football, and how it was evident to both coaches and players.

Questions then turned to Brandon Staley directly, asked to describe what he saw in the Rams 2019 defense. Staley mentioned playing against the team in 2018, and always keeping the Rams in his peripheral vision. It was clear that Staley had truly done his homework for the team, and was careful not to share too much in his first press conference.

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New chapter

Staley also stated a great deal of respect for former DC Wade Phillips but emphasized that he sees this as a beginning of a new chapter. Staley also emphasized plenty of carryover from the 2019 defense to the 2020 version, letting “we play a lot of different groupings” slip into describing his vision for 2020.

Staley has spoken to a number of Rams players but has not been able to meet directly due to off-season distances.  But he knows Aaron Donald‘s high collegiate coaches, as well as the coaches from Jalen Ramsey‘s past.

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When asked what McVay took away from observing the Super Bowl, he didn’t show his hand but rather talked about the difficulty in coaching that game. “I’m excited and motivated, and really, I would say more rejuvenated and reinvigorated than I’ve ever been since I first got here,” said McVay, who is preparing for his fourth season as head coach. “That’s a reflection of these men.”