The Los Angeles Rams will leave the California sun to travel to cold, snowy Green Bay to face the Packers in the NFC Divisional Round on Saturday.
Winter in the city of Los Angeles means training in the sun in a temperate climate and for some even hot that is around 25 degrees Celsius, while the conditions in Green Bay are very different. For game day, the forecast calls for temperatures of two degrees Celsius with a 40 percent chance of snow.
“You always have to have a contingency plan, whether it’s very cold, windy or snowy,” Rams coach Sean McVay said of the conditions they will face in Green Bay. “There are certain climates that when the temperature drops a lot, it certainly affects your ability to throw and other conditions that don’t. Our team is not used to playing in such conditions, but once the game starts, the players, I’m sure, don’t feel cold. “
The Rams are coming off a surprise win over the Seattle Seahawks in the Wild Card Round in a game in which their defense, which finished as number one in the regular season, had five sacks and hit Russell Wilson 10 times.
In the regular season, the Rams recorded 53 sacks (second in the NFL), led by Leonard Floyd and Aaron Donald, who will now have the challenge of stopping Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense, who finished the regular season as leaders in scoring in the NFL with an 80 percent ERA in the red zone.
“We just have to do our job. In the Playoffs, the mindset is to dominate every play. We have to find ways to affect (Rodgers) and I know we can do it, ”said Donald, a two-time NFL Defender of the Year. (Aaron) has played at a high level for a long time and that makes them great. Our job as a defense is to try to make him uncomfortable and not let him make those passes, in addition to stopping his running game, which has been very solid. “
Jared Goff protects his thumb and prepares for the cold
Jared Goff, who did not start the game against Seattle and was named the starting quarterback for the game against the Rams after rookie John Wolford was dismissed due to concussion, has trained with gloves this week to protect his right thumb, but also as a measure. against the cold you will experience at Lambeau Field.
“I’m considering wearing them (the gloves) on Saturday. We’ll see how I feel on match day. For now, I wanted to have reruns with them, “said Goff. “They can help with the grip of the ball if it is very cold, very windy or wet.”
Veteran Blake Bortles will be Goff’s backup in the face of any adversity.
McVay, Matt LaFleur and the friendship that unites them
The friendship between coaches Sean McVay and Matt LaFleur will be sidelined when they meet on Saturday at Lambeau Field.
The now-coaches were assistant coaches on coach Mike Shanahan’s staff with Washington for four years. In 2017, when McVay got his first head coaching opportunity with the Rams, he hired LaFleur as his offensive coordinator.
“(Matt) is like my brother, my older brother,” said McVay, who even shared that he often played the role of “bad third” when they went out and LaFleur was accompanied by a wife when they lived in Washington and before Sean met his current fiancee.
After spending one season with the Angels, LaFleur became the offensive coordinator for the Titans and in 2019, he signed as Green Bay’s head coach.
“I did speak to Matt this week. In fact, we shared the whole game plan and tactic, ”McVay joked. “It is not true. We talk and are in constant communication to find out how we are doing. We are not talking about the game, that goes without saying. We will talk about football again after the game, but we were only reflecting on our paths and that now we will face in this position.
In four years leading the Rams, McVay is 46-23, including Playoffs, while LaFleur is 27-7, including Postseason, in two years with Green Bay.