INGLEWOOD, Calif. – The Los Angeles Rams held their first of two scrimmages at SoFi Stadium Saturday night, aiming to create competitive situations to help evaluate key position battles and get used to the new stadium. Here are staff writer Stu Jackson's 10 observations from the session.
1) Statistically, Lirim Hajrullahu had the best night of the kickers. He did not miss from 38, 43, 48 or 50 yards and converted his extra point attempt. Behind the CFL product was XFL product Austin MacGinnis, who missed from 43 but converted from 38, 48 and 50 yards out and also made his extra point attempt.
2) It didn't take long for rookie wide receiver Van Jefferson to get first team reps during the scrimmage. After recording a 17-yard grab and a 7-yard touchdown catch against the second team defense on one of the drives in the first half, he saw several opportunities against the first team defense, including lining up against cornerback Jalen Ramsey on the final series of the night.
3) A pair of John Wolford touchdown passes withstanding, the defense had a good night overall. However, some of the offense's miscues were a result of technical difficulties. Regarding the first team offense specifically, Rams head coach Sean McVay told reporters after the scrimmage that the coaches were dealing with headset issues that made things "chaotic." Goff also pointed to getting used to rotating play calls between McVay and offensive coordinator Kevin O'Connell. "But I thought they handled it really well, as well as they can," Goff said. "And it's good to get these kinks worked out now and not September 13."
4) The offensive line had some procedural penalties it will be need to cleanup, but Goff was complimentary of the group's cohesiveness Saturday night, telling reporters afterward that he "thought they did a really good job and are starting to gel and starting to really feel feel like a unit." The first team offensive line was consistent with what has been observed at training camp during the week – Andrew Whitworth at left tackle, Joe Noteboom at left guard, Austin Blythe at center, Austin Corbett at right guard and Rob Havenstein at right tackle.
5) Wolford had a strong night and showed why O'Connell is so confident in and comfortable with him despite his lack of experience. Wolford completed a drive against the first team defense with a three-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Nsimba Webster, then led another scoring drive later with a seven-yard touchdown pass to Jefferson in the back right corner of the endzone.
6) McVay said he would allocate some scrimmage reps to the rookie quarterbacks and delivered on that promise, giving Bryce Perkins and Josh Love opportunities in competitive situations. Perkins had a 14-yard scramble and an 11-yard completion to rookie wide receiver J.J. Koski on one series. Love connected with rookie tight end Brycen Hopkins for four yards and rookie running back Xavier Jones for five yards on one series.
7) Defensive tackle Aaron Donald was doing Aaron Donald things. He notched a couple of sacks and routinely brought pressure on the quarterback and had a forced fumble on running back Cam Akers. It was a good test for the interior of the offensive line.
8) The scrimmage was a learning experience for Akers, who continued to show the patience, vision and tempo that McVay praised after practice this week but also caughed up a fumble in the redzone (Donald's forced fumble). Goff said that while Akers is still learning, he is picking things up "fairly quickly."
9) There was a good variety to the situational work. McVay mixed things up by having the offense starting deep in its own territory, at the 25, at midfield and in the redzone on different drives. And it wasn't exclusively first team offense vs. first team defense, second team offense vs. second team defense, etc.
10) Running back Darrell Henderson left the first half of the scrimmage with a soft tissue injury, according to McVay. There were no other injuries from the scrimmage that McVay immediately knew of afterward. That afforded Akers more opportunities.