Team insider Myles Simmons shares his top 10 observations from the Rams third OTA practice — their final of the week.
1) During individual drills, the linebackers worked on ripping the ball out of a ballcarrier’s arms, plus the proper way to recover a fumble. Again, it’s late May, but the Rams are clearly putting a high priority on both ball security and creating turnovers.
2) On the other field, receivers and quarterbacks worked on timing routes, with the signal-callers throwing the ball before the receivers came out of their breaks. That’s important to establish that chemistry now so that it looks smooth when there’s an actual opponent.
3) L.A. also worked on red-zone specific routes, like fades and slants. That’s one of the first times we’ve been able to see the club work on those kinds of routes in this offseason program. Worked on the red zone, first time we’ve seen that this week.
4) It’s become the norm, but quarterback Jared Goff and wide receiver Brandin Cooks got their connection going once again. The signal-caller threw a strike to the left sideline for the wideout, who had to climb the ladder a bit to get it. It was a nice throw and catch.
5) Quarterback Sean Mannion made a throw so good** to wide receiver Josh Reynolds on the left side of the field that cornerbacks coach Aubrey Pleasant ran over to the signal-caller to congratulate him. The throw was just out of reach for the cornerback and dropped right into the hands of Reynolds.
6) During the 11-on-11 drills, there were points where Goff worked a hard count — inducing some flinching from the defense. That’s another example of a team being able to focus on more advanced aspects of play rather than learning a system during OTAs.
7) The Rams worked on some elements of the red zone in 7-on-7 drills, and Goff threw a few strikes to start the period. The first went to wideout Cooper Kupp in the back of the end zone at about where the goalpost would be. Then Goff found tight end Tyler Higbee on the right side of the end zone after scrambling to his right when the defense’s coverage was tight. It was a pair of strong passes for the young quarterback.
8) During special teams drills, it looked like coordinator John Fassel was practicing kickoffs with the new rules. Players must now begin the play lined up within a yard of the ball to eliminate a running start. That’s what the unit was ostensibly working on during Thursday’s session.
9) In the second 11-on-11 period, Goff completed a pass to wideout Cooper Kupp over the middle that appeared to mildly frustrate cornerback Troy Hill. Hill was matched up with Kupp, who made a move to shake off Hill over the middle. When Kupp made the catch and darted up the field, Hill leaned back with his head looking up to the sky. His body language conveyed, “Man, how did he do that?”
10) The Rams ended the session with some situational work with a two-minute drill. Cornerback Marcus Peters nearly picked off a pass to Cooks on the left sideline, which would’ve given the defense a clear victory in the period. He didn’t end up with the interception, but, as head coach Sean McVay often says, Peters’ presence could definitely be felt on the field.