Rams GM Les Snead relieved Sean McVay will return. Now comes the hard part


Yes, Los Angeles Rams general manager Les Snead said what he said, though he would have rephrased it if he could jump into a time machine.

He was asked about saying “F— the election, we’re going to use it to go win more Super Bowls” at the team’s Super Bowl parade a year ago, a nod to the creation philosophy of his team’s list of giving up draft picks premium for premium. players in their prime: Snead doubled down on his infamous quote Thursday, with a caveat.

“I really said, ‘Let’s make this election to win Los Angeles a Super Bowl championship,'” Snead said on his 51st birthday. “So I always knew I was going to eat those words at some point. If ever there was a time to eat them, it was in this situation.”

Snead probably didn’t expect that point to come so soon, as the Rams finished 5-12 in 2022, the most losses by a defending Super Bowl champion in NFL history.

However, Snead and the Rams received some good news last week when head coach Sean McVay announced he would return to coach in 2023.

Snead’s reaction?

“Relief,” Snead said. “Maybe more excitement than relief, but some version of both. Because what Sean has shown, what Sean has shown and what everyone who is probably looking for right now is looking for and waiting for, is someone who has shown that he can design a process from A to Z that leads to results on a Sunday afternoon and have the math on that scoreboard work in your favor.”

The money and the allure of television were a tempting parachute out of a difficult and stressful situation for McVay. But at 36 years old and ultra-competitive, McVay has embraced the challenge of turning the Rams into a winner again and proving once again that he is one of the best coaches in the NFL.

After a week of contemplation, McVay confirmed his ability to handle all of this by staying on as the team’s head coach. And the annual tradition of renewing its coaching staff has already begun.

As expected, offensive coordinator Liam Cohn returned to the University of Kentucky as CO of that team. The Rams reportedly let go of special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis, offensive line coach Kevin Carberry, defensive line coach Jonathan Cooley, assistant defensive line coach Skyler Jones and assistant defensive end Lance Schulters.

Running backs coach Ra’Shaad Samples left for a passing game coordinator job at Arizona State during the season. Outfielders coach Thad Bogardus’ contract ran its course and did not stick, according to The Athletic.

McVay will now look for his fifth offensive coordinator and fourth special teams coach since taking over as LA’s head coach in 2017.

Among the players, quarterback Matthew Stafford, who finished the year on injured reserve with a spinal cord contusion, has already said he plans to play in 2023. Defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who sat out the last six games due to a high ankle. sprain, also said he plans to play next season. Whether that’s in a Rams uniform remains up in the air.

Snead said the Rams are projected to have 10 draft picks this year, including compensatory selections. This is the good news. The bad news is that, according to Over the Cap , they are projected to be $14 million over the salary cap for the 2023 season.

“It’s that time of year to put some plans on paper and figure out what’s next,” Snead said. “And those kinds of conversations are definitely coming.”

The team gave several young players significant moments to accelerate their development during a nightmare 2022 season. That’s something Snead and the Rams will likely lean more toward with veteran foundational players like Stafford, Donald, cornerback Jalen Ramsey , receiver Cooper Kupp, right tackle Rob Havenstein and linebacker Bobby Wagner.

“It would probably be one of the roses among the many thorns this year,” Snead said. “Players on their rookie contracts, or whatever, gain experience. And within that experience you have an opportunity to evaluate and determine if there’s a role for that particular player moving forward.”

Snead used the example of offensive lineman Joe Noteboom struggling to find regular playing time during his rookie contract because he played behind a Pro Bowler in Andrew Whitworth. But the Rams still signed Noteboom to a contract extension to replace Whitworth once he retired.

Now, the Rams will look to find more players in their rookie deals because of an aging roster and a salary cap structure that limits their ability to secure premium players through free agency or trade.

Snead labeled the process a remodel rather than a rebuild, calling it Chapter 3 of the Sean McVay era.

The first two chapters have been successful for the Rams, including two Super Bowl appearances, a Super Bowl win, three NFC West titles and a 60-38 regular season record since McVay took over in 2017 .

“With the way our roster is built right now, it would be hard to say rebuild,” Snead. “We’d almost have to tear it down to say rebuild, because we have a lot of really good players in their prime on this roster.”

Eric D. Williams has reported on the NFL for more than a decade, covering the Los Angeles Rams for Sports Illustrated, the Los Angeles Chargers for ESPN and the Seattle Seahawks for the Tacoma News Tribune. Follow him on Twitter at @eric_d_williams.

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