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Practice Report: First Day Back at Cal Lutheran

Posted Aug 21, 2017

After spending three weeks at UC Irvine for training camp, the Rams were back at Cal Lutheran for their first practice of the 2017 season.

The Rams were back on field on Monday afternoon, practicing in a non-padded session at Cal Lutheran. The team had worked out of UC Irvine since late July for training camp, but has now shifted practices to its football headquarters for the rest of the season.

After a day off, head coach Sean McVay said practice focused on situations, which was designed to keep the liveliness of practice high. And even though it was their first practice back at the facility and the team was just in shells, McVay said he thought “the energy, the focus and the concentration was excellent.”

INJURY REPORT

After sitting out Saturday’s game, many members of the Rams’ defense were back for practice on Monday. Linebackers Mark Barron and Robert Quinn, as well as cornerbacks Kayvon Webster and Nickell Robey-Coleman, all returned to the field.

Quinn has been limited throughout much of training camp and has been held out of the first two preseason games. McVay said a lot of the reasoning behind Quinn’s restricted reps was “preventative” in nature. And though he practiced on Monday, McVay and his staff have yet to decide whether Quinn will play on Saturday against the Chargers.

“We’ve got some different guys, where Robert’s one of our more veteran players, on a maintenance program,” McVay said of holding Quinn out. “He obviously had the hand thing in the offseason program, so being mindful of just getting him back and being smart about how we approach the season and him being at his best September 10th is really the key for us.”

“If we feel like getting him out there with his teammates is going to be worth it, then we’ll end up doing that. But we’re going to do what’s best for Robert and then for our team, being mindful of that date with the Colts.”

WATKINS ADJUSTING TO RAMS’ OFFENSE

The newest addition to the Rams’ offense, wide receiver Sammy Watkins, caughta pair of passes in his debut on Saturday and is expected to see more game action against the Chargers.

During training camp, Watkins said it would take him “about a week and a half” to fully master the Rams’ playbook. After 10 days on the roster, McVay said Watkins “has fit in great with the team” thus far, calling him “a good, natural football player.”

“I thought he made a couple key plays, that third down was a big time play even though it’s a four or five-yard gain, but it moves the chains,” McVay said Monday. “The first play of 7-on-7, he makes a big play down the field today.”

“I think you’ll continue to see him get more comfortable and that’ll enable him to be able to play faster where he’s not really thinking and then you can just kind of let your talent show and be the best version of yourself.”

OFFENSIVE LINE AIMS FOR CONSISTENCY

It is no secret the Rams’ offense struggled to protect quarterback Jared Goff in 2016, as he was sacked 26 times in just seven games.

Coming into 2017, the Rams made a pointed effort to reinvigorate the offensive line, bringing in veteran left tackle Andrew Whitworth and center John Sullivan, along with a new offensive line coach in Aaron Kromer. And after an entire training camp and two preseason games, there has been a lot of noticeable improvement from the position group as a whole.

Left guard Rodger Saffold, who is now entering his eighth season as a Ram, said Monday the new additions to the line have provided the team with a heightened level of chemistry and focus.  

“To have some of those veteran guys to help out on both sides… Whit and Sully those are two guys who make it a lot easier to be able to see things, and we’re able to adjust off of each other, so it’s getting better and better,” Saffold said of the line’s progress. “I think that Jamon Brown and Rob Havenstein are both getting really good at doing their roles and they are starting to perfect their technique, which is going to do nothing but help us come September 10th.”

The veteran guard also touched on the major differences in this season’s outlook, stressing the added accountability placed on the line under Kromer and McVay.

“We’re constantly challenged,” he said. “And I think that’s what has allowed the level of play to step up in the right direction. We’re seeing guys making giant strides that we didn’t see last year.”

PRESS POINTS

A bit of the media attention following today’s practice was focused on something other than the field — the solar eclipse. On Sunday, McVay said he didn’t know too much about the eclipse and was asked again on Monday whether or not he had watched it. Check out what he had to say below:

On whether or not he watched the solar eclipse today: “I did not. I saw a good couple jabs that people took at me about that with the shades coming down on me.”

On if any of the players watched the eclipse: “They did. A lot of the guys were talking about it today. It was something that you heard guys frequently discussing. I was just holed up in the office with no window and I didn’t see it.”