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Rams News & Notes 8/14: Randolph to IR, Spruce to Miss 1-2 Weeks

Posted Aug 14, 2016

Rookie safety Brian Randolph will be out for the season with a torn ACL. WR Nelson Spruce has a knee sprain that will keep him out for a bit. Plus, Jared Goff could see first-team snaps against the Chiefs.

The Rams won their first preseason matchup of the season over the Cowboys on Saturday evening, showing flashes of potential in the first and second half of the 28-24 comeback victory.

But in the NFL, one of the main objectives for any preseason game is to stay healthy. Unfortunately, two of the club’s young contributors will be sidelined — one for the entire season. At his Sunday press conference, head coach Jeff Fisher said safety Brian Randolph suffered a torn ACL and will be out for the rest of 2016. And wide receiver Nelson Spruce suffered a knee sprain and will be out for probably one to two weeks.

Both Spruce and Randolph signed with the club as undrafted free agents following the draft. Though the wideout was able to finish the contest — leading L.A. with six receptions for 51 yards and a touchdown — Randolph left midway through the fourth quarter having injured his knee during a kickoff. Spruce should be able to come back and contribute before training camp ends, but it’s certainly a tough blow for Randolph who will be placed on injured reserve.

“It’s very unfortunate for him,” Fisher said of Randolph. “Fortunately for him, he’s gone through it before. So we’ll tuck him away, we’ll give him an opportunity to compete next year.”

“Nelson’s got a knee sprain — we’re still doing more tests,” Fisher continued. “From what I understand, surgery is not going to be necessary. So it’s just a matter of him healing up and getting back on the field.”

These kinds of injuries illustrate why coaches can be hesitant to put in star players for exhibition contests — like a Todd Gurley or Robert Quinn, both of whom did not play on Saturday.

“All the situations are different, but you’d like to start the regular season with everybody having an opportunity to get some quality reps,” Fisher said. “And some guys need a lot of reps, and some guys don’t. It’s all different.

“But I’m not concerned about Todd,” Fisher added, “especially [considering] what he overcame last year. Stepped on the field having not had any reps and in the couple of weeks was very productive.”

Fisher did have some positive news on the injury front when it comes to cornerback E.J. Gaines and offensive lineman Isaiah Battle.

“I would expect both of them to be up, and available, and ready to play this week,” Fisher said.

GOFF WITH THE FIRST TEAM?

We’ve seen quarterback Jared Goff take a few snaps with the first-team offense in practice, notably in a two-minute drill last week. Fisher has said the rookie has also seen plenty of time with the ones during walk-through practices.

But we may see Goff run with the starters in a game very soon.

“I’d like to get Jared some snaps with the ones at some point, and it quite likely would be this week against Kansas City,” Fisher said.

Despite Goff’s final stat line, Fisher said he saw plenty of progress from the young QB during the contest.

“I think coaches see things differently than people outside,” Fisher said, adding many people don’t know “what he did on the line of scrimmage, how he checked in and out of things, how he changed protection things. So we saw a lot of good things there. The huddle, the tempo, the timing — it was all there. It’s just a progression. That’s what we’re looking for right now.”

Fisher seemed particularly impressed with a play that wasn’t necessarily completed — the ball Goff threw to wide receiver Pharoh Cooper that went in and out of the rookie’s hands in the red zone.

“Credit’s given to the safety who overlaps and knocks the ball loose from ‘Coop,’ well, nobody said anything about the throw,” Fisher said. “Step up in the pocket and make a great throw against a coverage, which is tough to fit the ball [into] — and he did that. So from a coaching standpoint, we see things differently than everybody else. And we’re seeing progress.”

As for Goff’s non-throwing shoulder, the head coach reiterated it’s a minor issue and the quarterback should be good to go this week.

“No concerns whatsoever,” Fisher said. “He’s just a little banged up and sore, but was doing well this morning when I saw him in the training room.”

EXTRA POINTS

— Fisher sounded pleased with linebacker Alec Ogletree’s debut as a middle linebacker, especially considering how long it’s been since he saw in-game action.

“I thought Alec did really good — his first live reps back since the injury,” Fisher said. “He directed and controlled the defense.”

Ogletree, of course, suffered a lower-leg fracture against the Cardinals in Week 4 and missed the rest of the 2015 season.

— One area where Fisher would like to see immediate improvement is defending the run.

“We’re not ready to play run defense yet. We’ve got some work to do there,” Fisher said. “If the shade is up the field and we lose gap integrity, then the center is on Alec and he’s got to go make a play, which is hard. So we’ve got to do some work on our run defense and that’s going to be a focus of the week this week.

— Finally, even though there have been plenty of adjustments — and plenty of firsts — with the Rams coming back to Los Angeles, Fisher said the team has done a nice job of maintaining focus.

“The team has done a great job handling everything,” Fisher said. “They were really excited about not only the outcome, but the experience. We haven’t seen the team today — they’ll be in tomorrow — but to say that this was the largest crowd in the U.S. in the history of the National Football League for a preseason game? That speaks volumes of what we’re experiencing right now. So our focus is just getting ready for the regular season and moving forward.”