Practice Report 8/2 - Offense Finds a Rhythm in Pads

Posted Aug 2, 2016

Los Angeles' offense had good success in the team's first full practice in pads on Tuesday afternoon. Plus, updates on WR Pharoh Cooper and DE Robert Quinn.

The Rams took another step in their preparation for the 2016 season, going through their first full practice with pads.

Monday’s special teams-only session gave a little taste of what was to come, but Los Angeles had a spirited practice in front of another nice crowd on Tuesday — this time with popping pads.

While head coach Jeff Fisher put the club in a number of different situations, the offense seemed to get the better of the defense in just about all of them on this particular day.

“As you see, we added another phase. We moved into the red zone today and the offense made a lot of plays, a lot of good throws, a lot of good catches,” Fisher said. “We had a lot of good work in the special teams period and got a lot of work just throwing the ball into tight areas in the red zone, which is hard. I thought all of the quarterbacks did a nice job today.”

Indeed, whether it was in two-on-one drills with QBs and wideouts vs. cornerbacks, 7-on-7, or 11-on-11 the offense was consistent in making plays.

“Everybody was just playing sound football today,” wide receiver Tavon Austin said. “Everybody did what they were supposed to do — nobody was extra. Our energy level was up."

“I think we just came out and competed and we had guys knowing their responsibilities. I think we worked with good tempo,” quarterback Case Keenum said. “It was a good day for us — a good day to build on. I think we set the bar and I want to get better tomorrow."

Keenum and wide receiver Kenny Britt connected on a number of passes, displaying their running chemistry that dates back to last season. Britt caught a pass of at least 25 yards from Keenum in each of the Rams’ final four games, two of which went for touchdowns.

“Obviously, you feed off of good plays — great plays. I think they like it when you throw them touchdowns. I like it when they catch touchdowns and get open,” Keenum said. “So I think that sort of stuff builds camaraderie and … chemistry between receivers and quarterbacks.”

Keenum also had some nice throws to Austin and Brian Quick, showing good command of the first unit.

But rookie Jared Goff had a strong day with the second unit, too, displaying many of the traits that induced L.A. to trade up to No. 1 for him.

“I thought he did well. He made some really good throws — a couple, the balls should have been caught,” Fisher said. “I thought he was making really good decisions. We had a little bit of noise the last period, so they had to focus in the huddle and I thought he took charge of it. He’s progressing well.”

Fellow rookie Mike Thomas was on the receiving end of a good number of Goff’s passes, and did well to reel in the vast majority of them. But the Cal product’s best throw of the day may have been when he uncorked a ball down the right seam to undrafted WR Nelson Spruce, who ran it in for a touchdown. Spruce is another player receiver who always seems to catch the ball when it’s in his orbit.

With so many receivers competing for a roster spot, Austin described the vibe in the position’s room as competitive, but in the best way possible.

“One thing I like about all of us — all of us look at it like we’re brothers,” Austin said. “Nobody is ever hating on each other. We’re always motivating the next person — especially me. I’m always motivating the next person to get better, because that’s only going to up my game.”

And so while the offense looked sharp on Tuesday, Fisher said the unit better come with it on Wednesday.

“I’m expecting the defense to answer a little bit tomorrow,” the head coach said. “The offense is probably going to need to strap it up a little bit tomorrow. It was a good day overall.”


— Rookie wide receiver Pharoh Cooper has not practiced for the last couple of days, but Fisher said he should return to the practice field soon. 

“He’s got a little thing going in his quad,” Fisher said. “You push through it, it may be two weeks, [but] if you back him off, it might be a couple days. That’s what we’ve got going there. He’ll be fine.”

— After a back injury prematurely ended Robert Quinn’s 2015 season, the defensive end spent most of OTAs doing rehab work on the side. He did participate in some parts of individual drills for the D-line, but did not venture into the 11-on-11 sessions.

Now Quinn has been getting some snaps during team drills — but not too many.

“That was not an easy thing that he went through last year,” Fisher said. “A lot of hard work during the offseason, step-by-step-by-step to where we are right now.

“He’s 100 percent, but it doesn’t make sense – when you have a racehorse like that, you have got to watch him,” Fisher continued. “We’re going to watch him, his reps aren’t, probably aren’t up, to where he normally would be, but he’ll get there. It just makes sense just to protect him.”

Fisher added Quinn will likely see some snaps in preseason games. But, as it is every year with proven veterans such as Quinn, even if he’s in, he won’t play too much.

— After a tough practice on Sunday, wide receiver Duke Williams has put together a nice two-practice string over the last two days. Fisher said Williams has done a lot of work since the offseason program to get to this point.

“Duke came in, knew he had a once in a lifetime opportunity based on some of the things that happened in his history,” the head coach said. “We gave him that opportunity and he took advantage of it. Went off in the summer and came back, took a lot of weight off and he’s doing well.”

— Finally, the Rams signed two wide receivers to boost depth at the position — Austin Hill and David Richards. Both wideouts played their college ball at Arizona.