By HCR Staff | Oct. 16, 2019
Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay has had relatively smooth sailing early in his head coaching career. Through his own hard work, ingenuity and leadership qualities, the Rams have become one of the NFL’s glamour franchises again, and an organization that now is expected to win.
After last Sunday’s loss to the San Francisco 49ers, however, McVay is confronting the first three-game losing streak of his head coaching career. To compound matters, McVay also may be squandering one of the advantages given to him and the Rams organization by the NFL.
McVay and the Rams play nearly one-third of their schedule against teams coming off of a short week. Five of their games come with a built-in advantage as the Rams have more time to prepare than their opponent. Three of those games are key divisional contests, last week’s game against the 49ers and both games against the Seattle Seahawks.
Based on our research (and please feel free to correct us if we have made a mistake), no other NFL team plays that many games against teams coming off a short week.
The issue for McVay is that of the six games already played, he’s squandered the preparation advantage in four of them. He’ll have this advantage again in the Rams’ final divisional game against the Seahawks.
Not that long ago, NFL schedule-makers were frequently accused of playing politics with respect to determining the opponents for each team. That issue now has gone away and every team’s opponent is predetermined based on division, conference and overall record.
Political machinations regarding the schedule continue to play out, however, with respect to the actual dates for games. For example, both the Oakland Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers face six-week stretches in which they play four road games, and going nearly two months without a single home game.
The Rams and McVay clearly drew the long straw for the 2019 schedule. However, their early-season struggles have almost completely negated that advantage. While McVay clearly is one of the best head coaches in the NFL, even he must be disappointed in his performance given the scheduling advantage he possessed.