Team insider Myles Simmons shares 10 of his top observations from the first Rams OTA of 2018.
1) The offense looked really sharp. Quarterback Jared Goff was accurate with his passes early and often, hitting receivers in stride on regular drops and off play-action. Goff said himself after practice that he felt sharp and comfortable on the field, and it showed. Overall, it didn’t look like a team playing an offense for the first time. And that should be the case, considering the club is in its second year under head coach Sean McVay.
2) Speaking of McVay, he was just as active as ever on the field — running around from drill to drill. If you’ve ever had a coach tell you, “If you’re walking, you’re wrong,” that is the essence of the Rams’ head coach. He’s never stationary and never walking. And he often encourages the players to jog from drill to drill, as well as on and off the sideline.
3) Even in the early, individual stages of practice, it was easy to see why Los Angeles wanted to add wide receiver Brandin Cooks. He has a very strong ability to snatch the ball out of the air and bring it to his body. There was a pass from a coach in warmups moderately off-target to Cooks and he nevertheless reeled it in. That was before he even put his gloves on during the group sessions. It’s not much, but it’s an indication of his considerable talent.
4) When the offense was going through routes against air, Goff connected with wide receiver Mike Thomas on a deep pass on the left side of the field. Thomas looked like he ran a solid route and Goff hit him in stride as Thomas ran into the end zone.
5) During team drills, Goff faked a handoff on the left, rolled to his right, threw on the run and hit wideout Josh Reynolds in stride on an intermediate pass toward the right sideline. It was a play that displayed Goff’s chemistry and timing with his receivers, even in this stage of the offseason program.
6) As it did during much of last season, the offense varied its tempo throughout much of the practice. That’s not necessarily a surprise, considering how the unit went about its business in 2017. However, doing it during the first OTA is an example of Los Angeles getting more comfortable in the scheme and mastering the system — rather than just learning it.
7) Cornerback Aqib Talib called McVay’s offense “crazy” because of the movement that goes into it. Cornerback Marcus Peters called the scheme “crazy unique” with the way the unit varies tempos. Both said they feel like going against the offense will end up making the defense better in the long run.
8) There are plenty of candidates, but Goff’s best pass of the day was probably a deep ball to Cooks during 7-on-7 drills. Cooks darted down the left side off the line of scrimmage, Goff fired the pass and hit the speedy Oregon State product in stride at about the five-yard line, allowing Cooks to easily make it into the end zone. Aside from Goff’s arm strength and Cooks’ speed, the pass illustrated Goff and Cooks have already established some chemistry.
9) On one play during 11-on-11 drills, cornerback Marcus Peters, cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman, and safety Lamarcus Joyner all converged on a deep ball in the corner of the end zone. The trio pulled up in order to avoid contact and potential injury, but there’s clearly already some chemistry getting established in the secondary.
10) A pair of young defenders made impact plays during 11-on-11 drills. Rookie defensive lineman Justin Lawler — selected No. 244 overall in the 2018 draft — broke up a pass down the field on a seam route. And college free agent signee Curtis Mikell picked off a pass on the defense’s right, jumping a route to get his hands on the football.