The start of the 2023 season is a few months away, but teams like the Los Angeles Rams can begin preparing more in earnest after the schedule for the new year dropped.
By virtue of finishing third in the NFC West, the Rams will have an easier schedule compared to the 2022 campaign. However, the first three weeks are far from strolls in the park as they take on the Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers and Cincinnati Bengals.
While that looks daunting on paper, Sean McVay is welcoming the challenge, via Stu Jackson of TheRams.com:
“I think you love it,” McVay said on NFL Network’s schedule release show Thursday night. “That’s what’s great about the NFL. Three playoff teams. Obviously tremendous respect, and we have familiarity. There’s been continuity on all three of those staffs. But they’ve earned the right, they’ve done a great job.”
It’s interesting to see that Los Angeles draws two division rivals to kickstart 2023, but McVay expressed his excitement at the chance to see what his young roster is made of so early in the season:
“They’ve done a great job. They’ve been an excellent football team for the last handful of years. You guys know the respect I have for (49ers head coach) Kyle (Shanahan),” McVay said. “But this is why you get into this, is for challenges and opportunities to be able to try to elevate your game, play as well as you possibly can. We’re going to get a chance to really be able to test ourselves early on. I think the important thing is, let’s keep building blocks one day at a time right now,” McVay said. “I love the approach our team has taken. But when you look at that schedule, you’re looking at those first couple weeks, and you see two teams you’re very familiar with, and that’s what you love. We’re excited about certainly Week 1 first, and then we’ll get to the Niners after that.”
Both the Seahawks and 49ers are defensive-minded teams that love to run the football, so McVay and Raheem Morris will have their work cut out for them out the game. L.A. was unable to beat either team last season, so there’s going to be a lot of motivation to get a win over them.
Regardless of how tough the schedule is off the bat, the priority for the Rams should be to build good habits and see where the chips fall.