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Practice Report 8/9: Running with the 1s

Posted Aug 9, 2016

Rookie quarterback Jared Goff took live snaps with the first-team offense for a two-minute drill and completed the situational objective.

There are plenty of benchmarks for a rookie quarterback. The first time he straps on the helmet, his first OTA practice, his first training camp, his first preseason game — the list goes on.

It’s one checkpoint, but on Tuesday Jared Goff took some of his first live snaps with the first-team offense for a two-minute drill.

“It was designed to give him a chance to work with the ones in two-minute,” head coach Jeff Fisher said. “It’s always good to get him working with the other offensive linemen and get him a chance to work with [center] Tim [Barnes] from a communications standpoint, because Tim is so smart up front. Tim can take some of that load off him and let him play.”

Goff excelled at the two-minute drill on Saturday at the Coliseum when he led a drive that finished in the end zone, and Tuesday displayed many of the same skills. For the situation, the quarterback’s objective was to put the offense in position to kick a game-winning field goal after taking over with under a minute left on the clock and two timeouts. It’s not particularly easy to accomplish that against Los Angeles’ vaunted defense, but Goff and the offense was able to just the same.

“He took the ball right down the field and got points and that was good,” Fisher said.

Fisher has maintained since the draft that Goff will move into the starting quarterback role when he’s ready. But the natural progression will see Goff taking more snaps with the first-team offense as the preseason goes on.

“That’s part of the process,” Fisher said. “As I mentioned, he’s getting walk-thru reps with the ones. This is one of the first or second times he’s gotten live reps with the ones, but that will increase.”

Overall, offensive coordinator Rob Boras said he’s been pleased with Goff’s progress throughout the two weeks of camp.

“Jared is getting better — just like we hope everybody is getting better,” Boras said. “It takes guys two or three times running the play before they really feel comfortable with it, and you saw that across the offense today. So, Jared is handling everything well.”

As for Goff’s upcoming first preseason action against the Cowboys, Boras said he just doesn’t want Goff to try and do too much.

“We want him just to relax Saturday night,” Boras said. “It’s just kind of like when we started OTAs and we started training camp — everybody gets on edge. There’s a lot of expectations. The more that he can go out there and just settle in, like we saw him settle in at the Coliseum during the Family Day, he’s going to play confident.

“We know he’s talented, so [it’s a matter of] him just doing what he does,” Boras added. “And, obviously, everyone else just playing football around him.”

ON THE ROOKIES

Aside from Goff, two rookies who have been impressing throughout training camp have been the Rams’ fourth-round draft picks wide receiver Pharoh Cooper and tight end Tyler Higbee.

Both have taken significant snaps with the first-team offense, and Fisher has labeled the pair as players who should be able to contribute sooner than later.

“Coop is handling everything really well,” Boras said. “We love what Pharoh can do. It’s great to get him back out.”

The offensive coordinator had similar glowing remarks for Higbee.

“Tyler really has handled everything well. It started fast, and I don’t know why, but you get to that point where you’re kind of waiting for that rookie slump,” Boras said. “It hasn’t happened.

“We’re putting him in some situations that he wasn’t asked to do in college, and handling it very well,” Boras added, saying Higbee has never had to block a player like defensive end Will Hayes. “There’s not many Will Hayes. When you’re asked to block that, that’s different than what he’s had to do. You do that enough times, you better learn how to drop your pads and play a little stronger.”

Much like the approach with Goff, Boras said he wants both players to be able to relax against the Cowboys this weekend and just go play football.

“Obviously, Saturday night we’re going to try and get those guys going and just feeling comfortable, and not trying to overthink anything,” Boras said.

AUTOMATED TACKLING DUMMIES

It’s rare for teams to run through tackling to the ground in practice for a number of reasons — player safety chief among them. But with the help of some clever folks at Dartmouth, there’s an alternative method that’s been spreading around the game.

The Rams brought in automated tackling dummies on Monday and began implementing them into practice on Tuesday. Defensive backs used the bags in their individual drills and they were also used for special teams drills. Plus, middle linebacker Alec Ogletree went through some of his warm ups with the dummy, getting a feel for how it can be utilized to help the team improve.

“They’re pretty cool,” Ogletree said. “Doing linebacker drills, I can kind of read the dummy and just kind of go do what I’ve got to do and actually hit it, too. You’re actually hitting a moving target instead of something that’s sitting still. The game of football — there’s nothing sitting still.”

The dummies have are steered by a remote control that gets them to where they need to be on the field and in drills.

“We were aware of the concept and the prototypes a long time ago and they just got the first two out, so we invited them out,” Fisher said. “There’s a place for it at our level and there’s a place for these things at all levels. In this day and age when we’re so concussion-conscious and contact-conscious, live contact between players — you want to reduce as much as you can, but you still have to have the contact. This is an opportunity to hit a bag that’s moving and a bag that moves around pretty fast.”