NEWS & EVENTS

Print
RSS

Practice Report: Football is Family, Offense Looks to Bounce Back

Posted Sep 19, 2017

The Rams offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur will face off against his brother Mike on Thursday night. Wide receiver Sammy Watkins discusses what the offense will need to improve on to best the 49ers.

The Rams held a pair of walk-thru practices on Tuesday that focused on the mental aspects of the game. According to head coach Sean McVay, the team has taken “an above-the-neck approach” in terms of their preparation for this week due to the short turnaround between games. Los Angeles will be on the road for the first time this season for a matchup with San Francisco on Thursday night.

INJURY REPORT

The Rams released their official injury report after practice on Tuesday. Tight end Gerald Everett, who suffered a thigh contusion in Sunday’s game against the Redskins, was limited in the afternoon session. Running back Malcolm Brown and cornerback Kayvon Webster did not participate in practice with a hamstring and shoulder injury, respectively.

Head coach Sean McVay did not comment on the three players’ availability for Thursday night.

In San Francisco, linebacker Reuben Foster — out with an ankle injury — and safety Eric Reid — out with a knee injury — did not participate in practice, while tight end George Kittle and safeties Jaquiski Tartt and Jimmie Ward were all limited on Tuesday. The 49ers staff informed reporters that Reid and Foster would not be available for Thursday’s game.

LaFLEUR FACES OFF AGAINST HIS BROTHER

The phrase “football is family” is often used metaphorically around the league to symbolize the close relationships built on the field. This week, however, it will take on a literal meaning for offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur.

On Thursday night, LaFleur will face off against his brother Mike, who currently serves as the 49ers wide receivers’ coach. But the ties don’t end there — the LaFleur brothers previously worked together in Atlanta under current 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan. Plus, LaFleur was college roommates with Niners defensive coordinator Robert Saleh.

While there is a lot of familiarity between both coaching staffs, LaFleur said that there will be “no awkwardness” when the teams face off on Thursday.

“It will be interesting,” he said. “This is the first time I’ve ever been in that situation and especially the last two years we were together in Atlanta, it was a great experience, especially when you get to go to a Super Bowl with your brother.”

“Really, I know so many guys on that staff, I’ve coached with a lot of those guys before, whether it was in Houston or in Washington, so I’m sure there will be some mixed feelings because you always want your closest friends and obviously in my brother’s case, I always want them to do well, but not at the cost of our team and what we’re trying to accomplish here.”

OFFENSE LOOKING TO BOUNCE BACK

In Sunday’s loss to Washington, the Rams’ offense struggled early on to find its rhythm. And although the unit was able to bounce back in the second half to tie the game at 20, in the end the team was not able to string together a game-winning drive.

Washington limited the Rams to just 49 offensive snaps and wide receivers like Sammy Watkins, traded to Los Angeles for his abilities as a dynamic playmaker, received just two targets.

“I think we played well, but not good enough to win. We didn’t get off to a fast start and when we started picking it up in the second half, it wasn’t enough to win the game,” Watkins said Tuesday. “Penalties happen in games, picks, interceptions, fumbles happen, but it’s about how you respond after those things. I don't think we responded well. We fell back and never put ourselves together, never got that groove back.” 

In preparing for a quick turnaround this week, Watkins said the team will need to extend more drives, limit penalties, and focus on executing effective third down conversions.

“I feel like the whole offense [last weekend] was just offbeat,” he said. “It was penalties that took us back, it was some injury timeouts and every time I feel like we got into a rhythm there were things that held us back.”

Watkins and the rest of the offense will be facing off against a 49ers defense that held the Seahawks to just one touchdown in Week 2. And while San Francisco is coming off of a solid defensive performance, the wide receiver did not seem worried about facing his first divisional opponent of the season.

“They are going to play well, they have a good defense,” he said. “They have guys flying around, but at the same time, I’m betting on the guys that I’m rolling with in our offense. We know it’s going to be a tough game.”