What they do isn’t complicated. How they do it is.
That’s the essence of the Rams offense Sean McVay brings to Philadelphia this weekend.
“It was very innovative,” said recent Eagles acquisition Jamon Brown, who was with the Rams in 2017, McVay’s first year as head coach. “I think McVay did a great job of making things look different. What he would like to call it is ‘The illusion of complexity.’ Giving you the same thing but making it look different. I think that’s what they do well.”
The Rams are 34-15 under McVay, the 4th-best record in the NFL since opening day 2017. Two of those losses were at L.A. Coliseum against Nick Foles and the Eagles.
They have the No. 3 offense in the NFL under McVay at 29 points and 387 yards per game.
They have really good players and an innovative scheme.
“McVay does a very good job of keeping everything alike,” said Eagles corner Nickell Robey-Coleman, who spent the last three years with the Rams. “Tight splits, you got various motions and shifts, just to mess with our eyes – pretty much window dressing. He does that over the course of four quarters. After a while, everything starts to look alike, you know? So you just have to stay focused on your keys and pay attention to your guy. That’s the key. If you can do that, all the motions and everything, you can kind of get through that, after a while.”
Sunday’s home opener at the Linc will be a tremendous challenge for the Eagles’ defense, but they should be close to full strength, with Javon Hargrave and Derek Barnett making their season debuts and Brandon Graham back a week after suffering a concussion in the loss to Washington.
“What we saw from Washington was a lot of that kind of stuff, but when you're talking about the Rams, you're really talking about the ‘OG’ team as far as doing that kind of stuff,” Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said. “Nothing we haven't dealt with. It's just that the number of times they bring it, it just keeps the pressure on the defense. It's up to us to respond to that. We have to be able to play lights out, mistake-free football.”
Cooper Cupp and Robert Woods are Jared Goff’s favorite targets, but the Rams want to run the ball down your throat. They ran 40 times in their season-opening win over Dallas – more than twice as much as the Eagles ran.
But the challenge with the Rams is just as much what happens before the ball is snapped as after.
“You have to have good eyes,” Avonte Maddox said. “A lot of motion and a lot of movement. It tends to get a lot of people’s eyes just moving around.”
It’s offensive football by distraction.
“It wants to be efficient, it wants to move quick and keep the defense on their toes and make the defense have to guard every blade of grass out there,” Brown said. “At times it can be high-powered when it’s ran efficiently, but we’ll see Sunday, you know what I mean? I like us to go in there and dominate and I think that’s what we’re going to do.”