Things seem to be light and breezy in the world of Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay. Prior to answering questions on the first day of OTAs, McVay made sure to let everyone know Aaron Donald was celebrating his 31st birthday.
He also doesn't seem worried that Donald is one of several Rams players electing to skip voluntary workouts this week.
"The dialogue has been good," McVay said Monday. "He's done a great job of communicating with my relationship and with him and he gets a chance to spend time with his family right now, so I feel good about that."
A focal point of the offseason has been Donald's long-term status with the organization. Prior to kickoff at the Super Bowl in February, NBC Sports reported that the three-time Defensive Player of the Year could hang up the cleats for good if Los Angeles won the title. In large part, that was due to his contract being "vastly" underwhelming.
Donald is expected to suit up this season to continue his success as the leader of the Rams' defense. In a similar fashion, Los Angeles is working on giving him an extension prior to the start of the new year, one that should make him the highest-paid defensive player in league history.
As for the remaining 89 players attending OTAs, McVay is content limiting snap counts for those who need rest. Several names, including quarterback Matthew Stafford, running back Darrell Henderson and receiver Van Jefferson, will be limited throughout the coming days.
Stafford likely is the biggest headline-grabber since he just led Los Angeles to its first Super Bowl title since 1999 while still in St.Louis. Signed to a new contract, McVay said that there's a constant level of communication between the two sides throughout his rehabilitation.
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"He's able to communicate with us how he's feeling, but the plans all along have been, let's really stress above-the-neck, some of the things that we can control a little bit, but be smarter than anything else with him, especially with his experience and his ability to communicate with us."
Everything Los Angeles does in the coming weeks is to build off last season's success with a chance to repeat. One move made to strengthen the receiving corp was adding former Pro Bowl pass-catcher Allen Robinson from Chicago.
Robinson, who agreed to terms on a three-year, $45 million deal, seems ready to work with the first-team offense, even if Stafford is sidelined. He already has adjusted to the play design of new offensive coordinator Liam Coen in his brief time with the organization. McVay also has taken notice.
“He’s locked in in the meetings,” McVay said. “And I think the first thing that stands out is just the body control for a bigger receiver. I bet you that he’s a baller on the basketball court. He’s wired to be able to double-up, play underneath himself."
The relaxed tone of McVay likely will carry over throughout the offseason into training camp later this summer. Life becomes quite easy when on top of the world, but as quickly as the Rams reached the peak, reality caused them to tumble down the totem pole.
For now, everything seems laid back. If a player needs time to recover, McVay will allow it. Now isn't the time to force a player to work with a minor injury that could lead to a major setback.
"Sometimes we're just like, 'let's be smart with guys. This isn't the time to push it,'" said McVay. "...this time of year enables that for us."