Sean McVay: Preseason not worth the risk for Rams

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Rams coach Sean McVay won’t play his starters in the preseason. And he won’t apologize for it.

McVay knows that there are people out there who think the preseason is increasingly becoming a ripoff for fans, who buy tickets to watch a bunch of players who will get cut at the end of the month. But McVay said that the Rams have a core group of starters who have played together long enough that they don’t need the preseason, and don’t need to risk injuries to play exhibitions.

“Not to say there’s not an appreciation for what the preseason entails and playing real football,” McVay said. “I think there is a lot of merit to that. But when you look at some of the continuity now that we have on both sides of the ball coming back, and you say, If something were to happen, is it really worth that risk in our mind? We just felt like that answer is no. That’s the approach that we’re taking, I totally understand if people don’t agree with that, but we always make decisions that are in the best interests of our team. That’s just really for this unit. Does that mean we’ll always have that luxury? I think if you have a different number of returning players, then the narrative on that is a little different.”

The Rams got to the Super Bowl without the starters playing in the preseason last year, so no one can say they needed it. NFL teams may increasingly follow McVay’s lead, and the preseason may become increasingly pointless.

52 responses to “Sean McVay: Preseason not worth the risk for Rams

  1. I can see getting your presumed starters/veterans a quarter or half of full speed game like practice. But 4 games? McVay and many other coaches are right, not worth the risk. That’s for evaluating the new guys. It’s clearly an inferior product so the fans need to speak with their dollars.

  2. it’ll be interesting to circle back after the season to see how teams that took the preseason seriously do compared to the teams that blew off the preseason. When team have a joint practice for 2 or 3 days it makes since to sit the starters. They got their preparation reps. But w/o joint practice?

  3. “the preseason may become increasingly pointless.”
    ________________

    This is a total misreading of what the preseason is about. No, you don’t want your starters going down hurt before the real games begin. But, particularly due to the current rookie contract structure, teams are filling in their rosters with TONS of rookies and young practice squad guys. Players who have little to no NFL game tape to evaluate. THAT’S who they need to see during preseason. And that absolutely isn’t going to change.

  4. Let’s just remember the Rams only got to the Super Bowl thanks to the NFL officials refusing to do their jobs in the NFC Championship game. I know people don’t want to hear that but it is the truth.

  5. McVay knows that there are people out there who think the preseason is increasingly becoming a ripoff for fans, who buy tickets to watch a bunch of players who will get cut at the end of the month.

    ***********

    Partially correct, but the real ripoff is the NFL forcing season ticket purchasers to buy tix for all preseason games too. Those are the people getting ripped off.

  6. The preseason is not worth the risk for the Rams, and it’s not worth the money for the fans. Wake up, NFL–the preseason is a joke, and charging full price for tickets to those exhibition games is highway robbery, especially when the starters don’t even play. These games are nothing but a glorified scrimmage, and we all know it. Stop stealing money from the fans.

  7. Matt Nagy in Chicago doesn’t even pretend the starters will play in the preseason either, and they made the playoffs too.

    It looks like the young coaches realize that getting into the regular season fully healthy is invaluable. The potential benefit of “reps” isn’t nearly worth the risk.

  8. “I can’t stand it Brady! Run it again!”

    I heard one GOAT bleat this to another GOAT during this “pointless” “not worth it” time of the year. Now the next generation is saying “We don’t need it.” Like they will just roll out of bed and somehow be prepared for the most competitive league in professional sports? I have to see it before I can even consider believing it.

    Remember when the entire league had a morning session and an evening session? I think those teams would dominate today’s sloppy, fundamentally void, poorly officiated that favors giving offenses unearned fresh sets of downs after a 3 and out NFL.

  9. I have no science to back this up and I’ve never played the game, but it just seems to me there is some value in ramping up to full speed game action. Five to 10 plays in the 2nd pre-season game and 10 to 20 in the 3rd, then a week off before the season starts. Instead these guys will jump right in with 40, to 70 full speed plays the first week of the season. Doesn’t sound logical to me but we’ll see how it plays out.

  10. Let’s be sure and count how many of the “starters” get hurt and have to come out of games the first few weeks because they didn’t get their bodies in contact shape by sitting out the preseason. Let’s see the RBs have timing with their O-line. Let’s see the QBs on the same page with their WRs/TEs when defenses are actually slowing the receivers down and rushing the pocket.

    McVay, if you’re afraid of players getting hurt in preseason, why aren’t you just as afraid of them getting hurt in the regular season?

  11. Problem is the fans can’t vote their feet, the season ticket holders are forced to the the preseason tickets, as part of the season package.

  12. If you don’t want starters getting hurt increase the roster to 110 people.

    I personally love the pre season and watching the new guys get the reps in, the sills guys and the linemen

  13. There are two issues.

    Preseason games are (as others have stated) extremely important for rookies and bubble players. Terrell Davis (HOF running back) might not have made the Broncos if not for one spectacular hit he made on special teams during a preseason game. Would Tom Brady, 4th on the depth chart, have made the team without preseason games? Would the Broncos string of UFAs making the team (Chris Harris, Philip Lindsey, Rod Smith to name but a few) have happened without preseason?

    Charging full price is despicable (and forcing season-ticket holders to purchase said tickets). Preseason would be a great opportunity for the NFL to be magnanimous to the fans who can’t afford the price of a season ticket. Give away tickets to charities, sell them for $20. Don’t make season-ticket holders buy the tickets (unless they want to–first right of refusal, but at a reduced cost).

  14. Teams that have been successful, like the Rams the past few years, and return most of their starters and coaches, don’t need the extra work and the risk.
    Teams that go through a lot of change NEED the extra quasi-game experience, not just controlled joint practices. And most of the rookies and especially the undrafted guys need a chance to show what they can do.
    Finally, coaches tend to be control freaks and don’t like maybe losing player, or even tipping their hand about a new scheme. Too bad.
    No guarantees in life or NFL. Play your backups if you want. But play the games. They are what they are, not going to count in the standings, but they have real value for a lot of folks.

  15. C’mon people. Can we STOP making out McVay as being “Boy Genius” for EVERYTHING he says or does?

    “Not Playing” your starters much or at all is NOT by ANY MEANS unique to him. Maybe the not playing them AT ALL.

    But plenty of teams for plenty of years have played them VERY sparingly (like a series or two) and MOST teams use the preseason to simply evaluate the players for the final cut downs in REAL live game action which is hard to reproduce in practices and scrimmages.

    So, let’s stop with the “The preseason is a ripoff” thing and act like the “NFL should take note” baloney.

    If you want to have the NFL get rid of all pre-season, fine. Go ahead. And if you don’t think the FOLLOWING will happen you’re naive.

    1) Regular season games will cost more to make up the revenue loss
    OR
    2) More Regular season games will be added to make up the loss
    OR
    3) Both of the above
    OR
    4) NFL teams will use more of the joint practice/scrimmages against other teams so they can get “real” game type play against another defense/offense.

    The reality of both 3 and 4 is that JUST as much “risk” exists in being on the field for those types of “live” action as in a pre-season game.

  16. If the Patriots play their starters…you should too!!!

    What about practice…coach mcfade? Why even bother practicing…they might get hurt there too!!!

  17. Dude…you scored 3 points in a super bowl you had no business playing in. Get over yourself.

  18. As a former season ticket holder to an NFL club, I’m appalled that the team charges FULL PRICE for preseason games. So if I cannot make the game (why would I), and need to sell my tickets, I’d be lucky to get $50-$60 bucks for my section 100 aisle seats and parking pass. This puts me at a financial disadvantage from the get go and removes the incentive to be a season ticket holder. Teams need to be realistic in terms of what they are charging their fans for the product being delivered. My last phone call with the season ticket “retention” staff was laughable. They actually said that I would make up the difference if I sold my tickets during the season on the NFL Ticket Exchange. Then they tried to get me to buy club level seats instead. I told them, give me the preseason for free, and I’ll sign up today for my regular seats….they wouldn’t budge, and they lost a season ticket holder, just like that.

  19. dvdman123 says:
    August 22, 2019 at 9:56 am

    Let’s just remember the Rams only got to the Super Bowl thanks to the NFL officials refusing to do their jobs in the NFC Championship game. I know people don’t want to hear that but it is the truth.

    ————————————————————————

    It was so unfair that the Rams also got the ball first in OT, and drove down the field and scored on the first possession. A superstar like Drew Brees should have been able to touch the ball in overtime….

  20. I literally didn’t renew my season tickets to the Jags because I refused to pay the same price for a preseason game. It was cheaper for me to skip the preseason games and apply that money to buying single game tickets…

  21. tb12bestqbevah says:
    August 22, 2019 at 10:05 am

    Partially correct, but the real ripoff is the NFL forcing season ticket purchasers to buy tix for all preseason games too. Those are the people getting ripped off.
    ___________________________________________

    Depends on the team. I have Packers season tickets and three years ago, they cut the prices for those in half. Face value is $45. So, I just give them away to people I know, who have never been to Lambeau Field, just so they can experience it. You still get the same atmosphere and game-day stuff going on, etc. But, no rip-off there.

  22. So many people complain about preseason games, yet everyone complained about yesterday’s news of a different camera angle being used in this Sunday night’s game. I guess it matters to you after all… Or maybe you just like to complain.

  23. Preseason is for talent evaluation anyways…. Let the starters sit and get as much evaluation as you can get on the people fighting to make the team.

  24. I would think that McVay would look at the last Super Bowl and see that it was a REALLY tiny margin that kept his team from winning its FIRST SB in franchise history.

    Literally just a few moments of better execution could have left him with a SB trophy in his hands and an eternal place in team history. Instead, as of now he’s just another forgettable SB loser/poor performer.

    Yet he’s comfortable with his starters having this much less preparation than that of his rivals, including the one that beat him in the big game.

    Looks like a calculated risk to me. Protect the money, don’t “risk” striving for the peak of success. I suspect we already know how this season will end for them.

  25. (I was careless in my verbiage above. Referring to the first *L.A. Rams* SB win, not the prior St. Louis win.)

  26. dvdman123 says:
    August 22, 2019 at 9:56 am
    Let’s just remember the Rams only got to the Super Bowl thanks to the NFL officials refusing to do their jobs in the NFC Championship game. I know people don’t want to hear that but it is the truth.

    ===============

    It’s not the truth. There were 3 scores and overtime after that blown call.

    The Rams won because 1) the Saints couldn’t score a TD on their last drive in regulation; 2) the Saints allowed the Rams to score and tie the game at the end of regulation; 3) the Saints turned the ball over in OT with a chance to put the game away in their hands; 4) the Saints allowed the Rams to score in OT to win the game.

    For those keeping score, that’s two failed offensive drives and two failed defensive stands after the bad call.

    The blown PI call was egregious, but as has been pointed out ad nauseum, there were other bad calls in the game that went against the Rams.

    The Saints had lots of chances before and after that one call, and blew them.

  27. electricboogalo says:
    August 22, 2019 at 9:51 am
    I can see getting your presumed starters/veterans a quarter or half of full speed game like practice. But 4 games? McVay and many other coaches are right, not worth the risk. That’s for evaluating the new guys. It’s clearly an inferior product so the fans need to speak with their dollars.

    ————-

    Agree, but it’s hard to do so when they require season-ticket holders to buy the preseason game tickets.

  28. I understand keeping starters out to avoid injury and I also get why people hate on pre season football. But I think that it does help certain teams that don’t have a clear cut roster to make final decisions on who makes the team or not and it’s good for rookies as well to get a feel/simulation for how a real game would be like outside of practices. May be boring to watch but in my opinion pre season football can definitely be beneficial for teams.

  29. “It’s clearly an inferior product so the fans need to speak with their dollars.”

    While the Packers are giving fans a break on preseason tickets, other franchises aren’t. You think the Spanos family will do that when they move into the Rams’ stadium? I’d be pleasantly shocked if they did.

    Look at how Kroenke still tried to keep all the PSL money from St. Louis, despite moving the team out of the city. Again, I’d be shocked if he gave any kind of break for preseason games.

  30. LOL entire point missed by so many. Did McVay say he wants to get rid of preseason? No. For 30+ players, or more, on every roster the preseason is very important. So McVay won’t start his top 20 or so. There’s still a lot more players that need the preseason to make the team. Shorten it to 2 or 3 games. Stop charging fans full price for the preseason. Change it however you want but don’t sit here and tell me the preseason is meaningless when over half the players in the league make the team or get cut largely based on preseason games.

  31. I get the risk aversion, but the Rams also play the Saints and a hyped-up Browns in the first month of the season. If they come out rusty early on and lose either or both of those games, wonder if McVay will be willing to take the blame.

  32. It is pointless to bring up anything that happened in the championship game after the no-call. The game ended artificially at that point. Had either of the penalties been called, game over, Saints win. It’s not worth anyone’s time to discuss anything that happened after that play. Period.

  33. I just don’t see the point of watching pre-season games.
    That’s why I always sell my tickets.

  34. realityonetwo says: “Agree, but it’s hard to do so when they require season-ticket holders to buy the preseason game tickets.”
    ———————-

    Said it before and I’ll say it again, does it really make a difference:

    a) paying $1,500 for 8 regular season + 2 pre-season
    b) paying $1,500 for 8 regular season + 0 pre-season???

    Because let’s be realistic – teams are not going to lower season ticket PACKAGES either way.

  35. Yet the rams have zero issues with charging 120 dollars for a lower bowl seat for their 3rd preseason game
    ———————————————————————-

    As a former St.Louis Rams fan, I can tell you this is just the tip of the iceberg of what Stan Kroenke and the NFL is going to do to the LA Market. Get ready the good people of SoCal.

  36. Preseason is also for the refs. They have to practice blowing important calls. I’m kidding, kinda-sorta. But the refs need the practice doing their jobs before the season starts.

    And as others have stated, preseason is for evaluating talent. This is how you get a look at the guys who are not starters. The games are glorified scrimmages and teams don’t care if they lose, but those games are very important to players who want to prove they belong on a team.

  37. The Lambs are a bunch of fake winners, which is why nobody cares about them and their fake superbowl trip.

    Regarding the article, the NFL should take note that fans want more regular season and teams want less preseason. WIN WIN!

  38. There is being “in shape”…and then there is being in “football shape”.

    They are very different. Getting pounded by a man of similar size every play takes getting used to physically and I expect more injuries from the starters because they didn’t partake in preseason.

    Much like how many more soft tissue injuries started popping up in the reg season after the CBA changed how much contact players could have in the off-season.

    Offensive Line in particular needs to work together and become a unit. Quarterbacks also need the work to ramp up to full speed as a competition against another team is always different than a practice with your own.

    I am sure there are other positions like Linebackers that benefit more in ramping up to game speed through pre-season work but I’m not trying to write a book here. My point is that there are reasons that pre-season has always existed. Game one of pre-season is always a mess…imagine if that was game 1 of the regular season.

    That being said, I see no value for RBs to pound themselves in there all pre-season. They will just get hurt and take reps off their careers. I don’t feel like RB’s learn anything in pre-season…

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