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Practice Report 8/15: Mannion Steady as Preseason Unfolds

Posted Aug 15, 2016

While Jared Goff and Case Keenum have garnered most of the preseason attention for Rams QBs, Sean Mannion has been quietly putting together a nice training camp.

When it comes to the Rams’ quarterbacks, the lion’s share of attention has been placed on No. 1 overall pick Jared Goff — and rightfully so. Pundits (including this one here) seemingly hang on his every move, asking head coach Jeff Fisher how he looks on a day-to-day basis to glean when the signal-caller may move into the starter’s role.

But Goff, of course, is not the only quarterback on the roster. And between Goff, Case Keenum, Sean Mannion, and Dylan Thompson, Fisher said Monday he feels the QBs room is in a better spot than it has been in the past.

“I’m happy with that right now and now it’s just a matter of Case leading this football team, Sean positioning himself to come in and back up if need be, and then Jared just pushing himself to where he eventually becomes ‘that guy’ for us,” Fisher said.

At this point, it feels safe to say everyone has firm expectations for how the QB roles will eventually shake out among the top three signal-callers — especially since Fisher laid it out so plainly to the media. And since there is a clear plan, the head coach said patience is a key virtue.

“We’ve done this before. We have a plan and the plan is basically, it’s all around being patient, you have to be patient with it,” Fisher said. “Certainly, as I said numerous times, it’s unfair to Jared, and to Case, and to Sean to say ‘alright, here’s the date.’ It’s not fair.

“They’re having fun, they’re learning,” Fisher continued. “You take the pressure off them, you’re patient and I think, after Week 1, we could basically say that all three of them have gotten better.”

Given that Keenum is the incumbent starter and Goff is due to take over as QB-1 sooner than later, you might expect Mannion to feel a little left out of the conversation. But when you ask the Oregon State product, that’s not the kind of answer you get.

“I don’t worry about attention, really. That has nothing to do with the way you play on the field,” Mannion said on Monday. “I think if you need to look outside at the attention to be motivated or feel motivated, then there’s something wrong with you, frankly.

“I feel like I’m a pretty self-motivated guy,” Mannion added. “I want to do well for myself, do well for my teammates. But I don’t let any attention bother me — I don’t even pay attention to it. All I concern myself with is becoming the best player I can be and doing whatever I can to help the team and play good football.”

Mannion undoubtedly made some good plays on Saturday, helping engineer the Rams’ fourth-quarter comeback victory over Dallas. The quarterback played the entire second half, completing 18 of his 25 passes for 147 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception.

“Sean’s numbers were really good,” Fisher said.

“I think having had a chance to look at the film, really just the one ball on the interception [is what] I’d like back,” Mannion said. “I think for the most part, I felt like I made good decisions — again, outside of that one.”

The young signal-caller said he feels like his next step is to play faster.

“Everyone talks about the speed of the game and I definitely felt much more comfortable in this preseason than last year — being a rookie last year,” Mannion said. “But any time you can just keep speeding up the way you play, keep playing faster, keep spitting the ball out, I think it’s always a good thing.”

And Mannion will continue to work on his craft focused solely on what he can control — his own performance.

“I just want to come out here and play my best football. And I think I’ve been playing well since OTAs started, and I think I’ve been playing well in training camp,” Mannion said. “And I don’t worry about anything else. I just worry about playing my best football and I feel like, for the most part, I’ve been stacking together a lot of good practices all the way since April.”

EXTRA POINTS

— Fisher liked what he saw on Saturday’s film from left tackle Greg Robinson, saying he played decisive and well.

“He played hard, he finished blocks, his hands were good, his feet were good, he was consistent, his weight was down,” Fisher said. “As a matter of fact, that was one of the things that came out of our personnel meeting last night – that this may have been the best preseason game that Greg has played to date, which would imply that Greg’s getting better and he’s had a great offseason.”

A good start to what Robinson himself has acknowledged is a big year.

— For your daily Goff update, Fisher said there were no issues with the quarterback’s non-throwing shoulder.

“Jared was fine. He got in there and made the throws,” Fisher said, specifically pointing out a few throws Goff made to rookie tight end Temarrick Hemingway. “Again, this was kind of [an] ease-yourself-back-into-the-week day, but it was good for him to be able to overcome the shoulder soreness and get out there and throw the ball around.”

— Both offensive lineman Isaiah Battle and cornerback E.J. Gaines made their way back to practice on Monday. Fisher has said he expects both to be available for Saturday’s game.

“Today he was cleared to go full speed,” Fisher said of Gaines, “so we’re going to give him a good week of practice. Barring any setbacks, he’ll play this week.”

— For a Monday roster move, the Rams waived/injured safety Brian Randolph, who suffered a torn ACL against the Cowboys on Saturday. Fisher said Monday the Rams intend to bring Randolph back to compete for a roster spot next year.

For a corresponding signing, Los Angeles added safety Michael Caputo to their roster. The former Wisconsin Badger initially signed with the Saints following the draft but was subsequently waived in mid-May.

“We worked him out a few weeks ago,” Fisher said of Caputo. “He’s in good shape, so he’ll give us some depth.”