Thursday night’s Super Bowl LVI ring ceremony was the culmination of the Los Angeles Rams’ championship run. It also marked the beginning of their quest to repeat in 2022.
That’s how Rams coach Sean McVay put it the following morning upon arriving to training camp, which officially begins Saturday when all players report. McVay favors the quick turnaround from their final celebration of the 2021 season.
“It was kind of good timing, because now it represents, ‘Let’s turn the page,'” McVay said Friday, via the Associated Press. “Let’s not minimize what a great year last year was, but that’s not going to have anything to do with this year.”
The 2022 Rams will try to become the NFL’s first repeat champion in 18 years. McVay believes that in order to avoid the proverbial Super Bowl hangover, the entire organization must not get complacent.
“A hangover, to me, what that entails is guys think they’re better than they are,” said McVay, whose Rams missed the playoffs following an appearance in Super Bowl LIII. “They stop working the right way, complacency sets in and the previous success you think is going to have anything to do with your future success. We’ve got the right kind of guys in our locker room, the right kind of coaches that are intrinsically motivated.”
The Rams’ offseason was plenty busy following the franchise’s second Super Bowl victory, and the main objective was keeping together the core of a championship team. Conjuring star defensive tackle Aaron Donald out of a potential retirement with a restructured contract was chief among the Rams’ to-do list items, which also included hefty extensions for star quarterback Matthew Stafford and star wideout and reigning wide receiver triple crown winner, Cooper Kupp.
Acclimating the Rams’ free-agent additions this offseason tops McVay’s to-do list during training camp. Wideout Allen Robinson was signed to seemingly take over the vital role Odell Beckham (who remains a free agent) had for the Rams’ dynamic offense, and figuring out the Rams’ new O-line sans Andrew Whitworth (retired) and Austin Corbett (signed with Carolina) will be part of Los Angeles’ narrative through camp.
On the defensive side, veteran linebacker Bobby Wagner enters his first camp with the team after producing numerous All-Pro seasons with the rival Seahawks, and newly acquired cornerback Troy Hill is poised to replace Darious Williams, who was another starter lost to free agency. Finding the replacement for defensive lineman Sebastian Joseph-Day is another item for Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris.
With unforeseen situations yet to happen and several camp battles set to play out, the obstacles ahead aren’t limited to the defending champs but this is partly why no team has repeated victories for nearly two decades. Up to that challenge, McVay is trying to put his team in the best position to schedule another Super Bowl ring ceremony in 2023.
“So many things have to go right,” McVay said. “We could be a better team this year, and I think we’ve got a chance to do that, and it might not mean we win a Super Bowl, because there are a lot of things that take place throughout the course of a game — the bounce of a ball here — certain things that are out of your control.”