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Rams’ Sean McVay focused on finishing season, but TV jobs beckon

THOUSAND OAKS — Rams coach Sean McVay smiled and said, “Good question.”

This is a common McVay response during news conferences, but this particular reply had the makings of providing answers to what many are thinking.

Will McVay return to be the head coach of the Rams for the 2023 season?

McVay will complete what he has called the toughest season of his coaching career after his 5-11 Rams end their regular season Sunday against the Seahawks in Seattle.

“I’m really just trying to do a good job of being present,” McVay said Monday. “We talk about that and let’s finish up this week the right way, do a great job trying to help these guys play at their best (on) Sunday at Lumen Field, and then we’ll deal with the rest after that.”

It was a safe response from McVay, but probably a good one for the TV executives who are hoping to take McVay off the sidelines and into the studio or booths. NFL TV partners are again eyeing McVay as a possible game or studio analyst for next season, Front Office Sports reported Thursday.

On Friday, McVay said it’s flattering to receive interest from TV networks, and it’s something he might consider in the future, but he again mentioned that he wants to be in the moment and focus on his team playing the Seahawks on Sunday.

“It’s flattering,” McVay said. “These are always going to be things that you kind of anticipate and expect that are going to come up because I haven’t run away from the fact that down the line or whenever that is, that’s something that I’ve been interested in.

“I want to be here right now, focus on that and that’s where I’m at.”

McVay, 36, has been candid about what he’s learned throughout this difficult season, which has offered various mental challenges, but he hasn’t mentioned that he will for sure return next season to be the head coach of the Rams.

McVay, who guided the Rams to a Super Bowl title nearly 11 months ago, said the 2022 season has humbled him, but he referred to it as a “professional failure.” He was asked Friday if this season has made him question whether he wants to continue coaching.

“No, I don’t know if you necessarily look at it like that,” McVay said. “I am going to be open and honest about the things because you care so much and it’s being able to be honest with those things. That acknowledgement helps me work through it. It doesn’t mean that it changes the passion and the love you have for it, but to sit up here and say that this hasn’t been challenging because so much of it is predicated on … even on the comment that I made the other day … we’re charged with trying to win football games.

“That doesn’t mean that I feel like a failure. It means we haven’t lived up to the expectations and there’s a lot of reasons for that, but it doesn’t change your passion, your competitiveness, but it’s all about using these experiences to shape you, make you more whole, and then to be able to apply the appropriate perspective. And until you go through these things, you can always try to imagine or you can read about it and different things like that, but until you actually go through it, which I can speak from experience now, it’s different. But when you are around the right kind of people, it’s absolutely something that is going to strengthen you, and I feel like it’s made us a lot stronger in the midst of this. That’s why I’m looking forward to finishing this up the right way.”

McVay did sign a lucrative contract extension with the Rams after winning the Super Bowl and after declining Amazon’s offer to join its “Thursday Night Football” TV broadcast.

But McVay is enduring a difficult losing season, leaving the door open for TV networks to make another run at him in the offseason.

McVay isn’t providing answers right now because the Rams have a game to play in Seattle, but it will surely be a topic after the game and possibly throughout the offseason.

AKERS’ ATTENTION TO DETAIL

Rams running back Cam Akers has made the most of his opportunities with the ball in his hands, but offensive coordinator Liam Coen might be more impressed with when he’s not touching the ball.

Coen said Akers’ confidence is a reason why he’s having a late-season surge. Akers has averaged 102 rushing yards and 5.6 yards per carry during his past three games.

“As I’ve kind of mentioned, his detail without the ball,” Coen said. “Everything’s great when he has the ball in his hands and he’s starting to do some of the things that he’s done, that he’s shown at a high level, that he’s been able to do in the past. Take that out, this is unbelievable to see him take his game and elevate it the way he has. And whether that’s repetitions, whether that’s focus, whether that’s health, whether that’s all these things, I really don’t know exactly what has led to Cam having the success that he’s had.

“I just know that around the building when you see Cam, when you’re around him, you just see a little bit of a different look in his eye. The focus, the concentration, the confidence that he’s been able to almost walk around the building with, and he’s a quiet by nature dude, but smiling a lot again. And I think a lot of that comes with confidence. Success helps, but the confidence that you’re seeing out of Cam … but his details without the football has been tremendous. And then it’s gotten to the point now you feel like when we hand the football off, we’re going to get some yards. You feel confident when we’re handing the ball off and he’s making seven or eight out of nothing sometimes.”

Akers has seen an increase in touches the past month, but he’s cracked 20 carries in a game only once this season. He’s been efficient on the ground while also contributing in the passing game as a target and blocker for quarterback Baker Mayfield.

Last week, Akers had a memorable block on a blitz pickup against the Chargers to allow Mayfield to make a 21-yard completion to tight end Brycen Hopkins.

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“Man, we’ve seen that out of him before,” Coen said. “He had one on (Arizona Cardinals safety) Budda Baker earlier in the season on a blitz pickup. He has that in him and he’s strong, he’s explosive, but it was more the finish.”

SCOTT OUT

Rams safety Nick Scott sustained a shoulder injury during Thursday’s practice and was ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Seahawks.

Defensive lineman Aaron Donald (ankle), center Brian Allen (calf) and wide receiver Ben Skowronek (calf) were also ruled out for the season finale

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