Los Angeles Times

McVay supports critical Ramsey

- By Gary Klein

TAMPA, Fla. — Sean McVay was aware of pointed comments Rams star cornerback Jalen Ramsey made after a wrenching defeat to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Monday the Rams coach voiced his full support.

“I know where he’s coming from,” McVay said during a videoconfe­rence with reporters, “and it’s all with the right intentions.”

On Sunday, the Rams’ defense had preserved a lead with a late goal-line stand, but the underperfo­rming offense failed to get a first down, giving Buccaneers quarterbac­k Tom Brady another chance to send the Rams to a 16-13 loss that dropped their record to 3-5.

“We shouldn’t even have been out there,” Ramsey said afterward, essentiall­y echoing postgame remarks by McVay and quarterbac­k Matthew Stafford. “You can say it like it is — the game should have been over.”

It was not the first time the offense has put pressure on a defense that has limited opponents enough to win most games.

“We have so many games where the defense will get a stop and then we’ll go to the sideline and they’ll be like: ‘Y’all stay locked in. Y’all stay locked in. You’re going to have to go back out there again,’ ” Ramsey said.

“It shouldn’t be like that. We got to have some dogs who are going to be like, ‘We going to close this mother ... out.’ ”

Ramsey, McVay said Monday, is “a great competitor.”

“He would say the same thing on the defensive side of the ball if the roles were reversed,” McVay said. “So he’s always going to be honest.”

Ramsey regularly expresses

his passion and desire to win, McVay said.

“That’s consistent with his demeanor, and I know where he’s coming from in terms of wanting to win, wanting to compete and wanting his teammates to expect to do well and have the confidence to close out those games,” McVay said. “And so I think his teammates know that. His coaches know that.”

The Rams, who play the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday at SoFi Stadium, are two games under .500 for the first time in McVay’s five-plus seasons.

Despite the offense not performing to expectatio­ns, McVay is working to keep the Rams connected.

“That’s where a lot of those divides can somewhat occur, and you want to be cognizant of that,” he said. “You want to be honest, and you want to make sure that guys understand how vital this is for us to continue to try and get out of this little rut and try to trend in the right direction.”

Here is also what we learned from the loss to the Buccaneers:

Change is in the offing:

OK, we’ll wait and see about that.

McVay told reporters that personnel and scheme are on a still-unspecifie­d list

of areas that will be addressed, including how he has done his job.

“I’m a huge part of this,” he said, “and that’s just the reality of where we’re at right now.”

McVay must have delivered a similar message to players because several during postgame interviews echoed their coach about a need for changes, though none criticized McVay.

Akers came back — and didn’t do much:

Running back Cam Akers returned from a two-plus-week exile and played for the first time since a loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Oct. 9.

Darrell Henderson started and played two series before Akers got into the game in the first quarter.

Akers finished with five carries for three yards.

“He did a good job with what he could control,” McVay said. “It was good to be able to get him back in the mix.”

Henderson rushed for 56 yards in 12 carries, including one for 23 yards. Malcolm Brown rushed for nine yards in two carries.

Look for the Rams to maintain their strangleho­ld on second to last in NFL rushing statistics.

Jefferson’s game didn’t go as planned: Receiver Van

Jefferson came back from knee surgery and played in a loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Oct. 30.

He was not targeted. On the first play of the Rams’ second series Sunday, Stafford passed to a wide-open Jefferson for what would have been a big gain.

Jefferson dropped the ball.

He got four more targets but still has no catches.

The Rams are not out of the playoff hunt — yet:

It does not look promising. The struggling Rams are showing many of the signs that caused them to miss the playoffs in 2019.

Players are quick to point out that last season they lost all three of their games in November — and still won the Super Bowl. But the Rams were a comfortabl­e 7-1 when they began the skid.

The Rams still have games outside Southern California at New Orleans, Kansas City, Green Bay and Seattle.

Can they win the NFC West?

“I would never say that there’s not an opportunit­y for us to do that,” McVay said, “but we’ve got to start handling our business the right way for that to be a conversati­on that has merit to it.”

 ?? Chris O’Meara Associated Press ?? RAMS CORNERBACK Jalen Ramsey, shown breaking up a pass intended for Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans, voiced his displeasur­e about the offense.
Chris O’Meara Associated Press RAMS CORNERBACK Jalen Ramsey, shown breaking up a pass intended for Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans, voiced his displeasur­e about the offense.

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