THOUSAND OAKS, CA. -- As the NFL calendar turns to the 2023 season, Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay is getting an opportunity to do something he hasn't done as much in previous years: practice and teach.
An influx of youth and new additions to the Rams' roster, as well as some veteran departures, has both McVay and quarterback Matthew Stafford taking a slightly different approach to this stage of the offseason, compared to years past.
On Tuesday, following the team's OTA practice, both discussed how the new-look roster has given them a renewed sense of energy and highlighted the importance of going back to fundamentals.
"It's very different and refreshing," McVay said. "I think in a lot of instances those are things that when you just reflect back, you take for granted."
"This is the closest thing since 2018 in terms of actually doing some real team work," he said.
McVay said there is a noticeable energy and extra bounce that players, especially those who are new, are bringing to the practice field. His hope is that mentality enables the coaching staff to maximize the time they have during this period to get players up to speed.
Given the Rams' new makeup, McVay and his staff have also been able to reset the way they approach certain aspects of the offseason process.
"We were able to really reestablish, how do we want to operate?" McVay said. "What are the ways that we're teaching these things to make it as digestible as possible for the players? How can you get a little bit ahead of it?"
With wide receiver Cooper Kupp and defensive lineman Aaron Donald not yet at OTAs (Kupp is expecting his third child, while Donald is spending time with family, according to McVay), the initial burden of leadership has fallen primarily on Stafford.
The 14-year veteran wasn't able to take part in OTAs last season due to an elbow injury, but now has returned without any physical limitations. Currently, Stafford's biggest challenge is wrapping his mind around the fact that he now has teammates who were his daughters' current ages when he first came into the league.
"It's weirder when (teammates) come up to you and say, 'I watched you growing up,'" Stafford said Tuesday. "It's kind of hard to sit there and think about that."
Still, Stafford is embracing the role of elder statesman and, much like McVay, is enjoying teaching young players and new additions on the fly, as well as feeding off their energy.
"I think so many of them are first time on a practice field in the NFL and first time in a meeting room, first time doing a lot of stuff," Stafford said. "So I'm just trying to do everything I can to help those guys. I enjoy being around them because they bring great energy. I mean, this is such an exciting thing for them to be out here on a practice field and in May. It's my 15th time doing it, so it's just a little bit different."