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Sean McVay rejuvenated by youth of Rams entering 2024: 'Feels like it's Year 1 again'

It's 2024, but for Sean McVay, it may as well be 2017.

For the first time since the start of the Rams' fluid rebuild (which began in 2022), McVay feels invigorated by what lies ahead for his team.

"You know what's cool? Being around this group, and especially even last year, it feels like it's Year 1 again," McVay recently told Rams play-by-play commentator JB Long and analyst D'Marco Farr. "And I really mean that."

McVay's experienced the full spectrum of emotions as a coach in recent years, even flirting with walking away after the 2021 season, a campaign in which he won his first Super Bowl with the Rams. McVay's consideration of retirement signaled a young, obsessive coach dealing with burnout, and the 2022 season -- an injury-fraught, disappointing campaign -- didn't do him any favors.

That season may have been an important turning point for McVay, though, because it lowered expectations for the Rams for the first time in his tenure. Instead of going all in on every season, Los Angeles entered 2023 as an afterthought, making their return to the playoffs -- with the NFL's second-youngest roster -- that much more satisfying.

Now, McVay is surrounded by hungry players, has a trustworthy veteran quarterback and is entering the 2024 season with momentum after a productive offseason. The most trying parts of the Rams' rebuild appear to be behind him, and McVay seems ready to ride the good vibes into another successful campaign.

He's also become a father in the last year, providing new motivation to achieve beyond the crave to win.

"I feel like these last couple of years, there's really just been a real renewed purpose and perspective that reminds you what a blessing this is," McVay said. "You kind of had lost that a little bit in the midst of the journey, especially things going well and then obviously, the challenging year in '22.

"There's a lot of cool things that have gone on with the people that I'm around, the coaches, but having that little guy too is a real easy reason to keep appropriate perspective and to make sure you're being the man and the model and what it looks like for him every day."

So far, McVay is checking all of the boxes. And instead of feeling the pressure of needing to deliver, he can once again enjoy coaching a potential-packed team without constantly carrying the weight of expectation.

That can change, of course, if the wins don't follow. But as we near the peak of optimism season, McVay is near the top of the leaderboard when it comes to bringing the juice.

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