Wed, 23 Sep 2020

Sean McVay discusses COVID-19 contingency plans for coaches

Los Angeles Rams
14 Aug 2020, 18:24 GMT+10

J.B. Long

The Rams have yet to don their pads, and I'm already in Sean McVay's doghouse.

Recently, I asked if he's quarantined for a week or two, who leads the team?

"Well first of all, why would you bring such a scenario up," McVay retorted with a smile. "That sounds awful."

But as we've all come to terms with over the past five months, COVID-19 is no laughing matter. And organizations around the country - including football franchises - are putting layers of contingencies in place.

Active, gameday, and practice squad rosters have been expanded for players in 2020. Those numbers may prove essential in the event of an outbreak.

But who's the backup to the head coach, especially when he doubles as the offensive play-caller?

"It is absolutely something we've talked about," McVay continued after needling me. "And you know the natural kind of trajectory with the offense and the defense, because you have more (assistant coaches)."

Without directly naming his hypothetical replacement, as Dan Quinn of the Falcons did last week, McVay expressed confidence in the depth chart.

More specifically, in Kevin O'Connell, the Rams picked a good season to have an offensive coordinator for the first time since Matt LaFleur left following the 2017 season. Offensive line coach and run game coordinator Aaron Kromer has NFL experience as an offensive coordinator and interim head coach. Passing game coordinator Shane Waldron has been with the team since 2017 and interviewed for the Bengals head coaching job following the Rams 2018 NFC Championship game.

On defense, if coordinator Brandon Staley were to be self-isolated, assistant head coach Joe Barry has ample NFL defensive coordinator experience with Detroit and Washington. And it wouldn't surprise me to see corners coach Aubrey Pleasant have his opportunity in the near future.

"Where we've really had to be intentional, God forbid, if (Special Teams Coordinator) Coach (John) Bonamego or (Assistant Special Teams Coach) Tory Woodbury ended up getting sick," McVay said. "Because you only have two guys allocated to your special teams."

Already this offseason, two NFL head coaches have been infected: Sean Payton of the Saints and Doug Pederson of the Eagles.

Were McVay be forced to quarantine during a game week, how involved might he want to remain from home (assuming he's asymptomatic)?

"If it does come up, I would certainly like to stay engaged in any way possible, but I'm not going down that negative route right now. But if we had to get on this Zoom and I'm yelling through an iPhone and somebody is holding it up, you know, maybe that'll happen. We've learned a lot more about technology these last couple months than I think we would have ever learned otherwise. So, I think we'd have to demonstrate some agility. No doubt about it."

Now that we've asked, hopefully that's squared away and never comes to pass.

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