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Daily Combine Wrap-Up: Thursday

Posted Feb 25, 2016

Team insider Myles Simmons takes a look at Wednesday's biggest storylines from the 2016 NFL Combine.

INDIANAPOLIS -- Day 2 of media availability at the 2016 NFL Combine has come and gone with quarterbacks, wide receivers, a few notable running backs, and Rams general manager Les Snead taking to the podium. Let’s get to the big takeaways of the day’s happenings in this daily recap.

TOP STORIES

1) Bringing back the secondary

Starters Trumaine Johnson, Janoris Jenkins, Rodney McLeod, and Mark Barron are all set to hit free agency when the new league year begins in March. While there was no definitive news to report on Los Angeles’ pending free agents in the secondary, Snead did sound like there has been some positive talks with the representation for those players.

“Right now it’s, ‘Hey, we’d like your guy back,’ and they’re saying, ‘We’d like to be back.’ I think we’re stuck on the number as we all go through this,” Snead said.

But just as head coach Jeff Fisher has done since the end of the season, Snead classified bringing back the secondary as critically important.

“If I were to prioritize what’s going on in our building -- and there's a lot of things going on -- that’s Priority A right now,” Snead said. “Even at this Combine right now, we’ll meet with their reps maybe more than one time. … And I’m not saying anything gets done. We’ve got a lot going on here, but that’s Priority A.”

Though it won’t necessarily be easy to get all those pending free agents back in the fold, Snead said it is possible.

“You know what, that is the goal,” Snead said. “It’s a tough task, but it’s realistic. I don’t think it’s not realistic, especially considering the cap room and things like that.”

Snead had plenty more to say about those free agents, which you can read in our full story here. [LINK]

2) Looking for stability at QB

During his press conference, Snead rattled off a bunch of statistics that the club has gleaned from studies about quarterbacks. You could go through them one by one, but I think what it boils down to is this: NFL teams with stable quarterback play and strong defensive units are most likely to win.

Because the Rams have not had that coveted stability at the QB position, it’s been difficult for the club to find sustainable success. And after finishing No. 32 in passing offense in 2015, the club appears to be keeping its options open for signal-caller.

One such option could be quarterback Sean Mannion. Heading into his second season, Snead said Thursday the quarterback could make enough progress to become a consistent, productive starter.

“He’s got a nice skill set,” Snead said. “Came from a pro-style offense, so doing what we do in the NFL doesn’t overwhelm him. He can do things pre-snap, get the ball out quickly. He’s less mobile than most, but he was probably that way in high school, so he’s learned to get the ball out quick. That’s his mobility.

“I call it from freshman to sophomore year, there’s a big jump in a lot of different things -- experience, confidence,” Snead continued. “You’re not the new kid. You’re not just trying to figure out where your locker is. You actually are trying to go out and help get first downs. So, yes, you can do that.”

For much more on Snead and Fisher’s thoughts on the Rams’ quarterback situation, check out our full story here. [LINK]

3) Friendly competitors

At this point, Jared Goff and Carson Wentz appear to be the consensus top two quarterbacks available in the 2016 draft. While they won’t be together much after April, for now they’re actually training together in Southern California to help ease their transition to the league.

“Carson’s a great player,” Goff said Thursday. “Me and Carson have been training together now for six or seven weeks, and he’s a great player, hell of a quarterback, and he’s going to be really good wherever he goes as well.”

With the two training together, Goff said there is a sense of friendly competition that’s been brewing between them.

“It’s just like anything else,” Goff said. “When we go out there and we throw together, by no means is it cut throat, but we’re competitive with each other. We’re just trying to do our best every day.”

We’ll have more on the quarterbacks this weekend as they get their on-field workouts going on Saturday.

AROUND THE TWITTERVERSE

In addition to their interviews, the QBs went through measurements, which sparked some interesting reactions on Twitter.

This next tweet may not have much to do with hand size, but I still found it pretty interesting. Goff did mention in his press conference that for years he’s had trouble putting on weight.

QUOTABLE

“I just heard about that yesterday, actually. I’ve been told I have pretty big hands my whole life. Heard I had small hands, apparently, yesterday. No, I’ve never had a problem with that. I don’t expect it to be a problem at all.”

Jared Goff on the insinuation that he has small hands because they measured out to nine inches.

“What he brings to the table as a weapon on offense and what our coaches can do, and we’ve hired a couple new coaches and they come into the building with, let’s call it excitement because of what they think he can do to help your [offense] -- and also on the special teams. So he’s a valuable piece. Again, I don’t know what we call him, but I like to call him an offensive weapon. So we’ll try to figure that out. But he’s somebody we want for the future.”

GM Les Snead on the organization’s interest in keeping Tavon Austin around with a long-term deal.

UP NEXT

The running backs and offensive linemen will be on the field for their workouts, plus defensive linemen and linebackers are slated to speak to the media. I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to seeing some fast 40 times.