10 Observations from OTA No. 5

After each OTA practice, team insider Myles Simmons will share his top 10 observations from the day’s session. Here are 10 notes from Day 4 on Wednesday, May 29.

1) As expected, outside linebacker Dante Fowler was in attendance for Wednesday’s OTA. While he was not there for Tuesday’s voluntary session, head coach Sean McVay said Fowler had communicated to the team a travel snafu. Fowler was active throughout the session within his position group and in 11-on-11 work.

Check out photos of week two of the Los Angeles Rams during OTAs.

2) As Fowler was getting some one-on-one instruction from OLBs coach Chris Shula at the beginning of practice, Los Angeles was putting in work on special teams. On one field, players were drilling kickoff and kickoff return. On the other, players were drilling how to set up a double team for punt return.

3) During the defense’s usual pursuit drill, defensive tackle Aaron Donald fielded a swing pass on the left side, leaving the reserves to chase after him. If that ever happened in a real game….good luck stopping that freight train.

4) On the other field, the tight ends were performing an interesting drill to ostensibly practice their first steps in blocking. One player would wear a long stretch band around their waist, and a position-mate would hold it. The first TE would then get in a stance and take his first couple steps, while the one behind would provide resistance on the band.

5) With the offense working independently, the Rams practiced a number of screen plays — moving down the field against air. Running backs Malcolm Brown and John Kelly rotated at their position. L.A. ran a wide variety of screens to each skill position during the period.

6) Bringing the skill-position players on both offense and defense together, Los Angeles went through a half-field passing drill — essentially 7-on-7 but with fewer players so more could rotate in and get more frequent reps. Cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman broke up a short pass to wideout Robert Woods on the defense’s left near the sideline early on in the drill.

7) But during that same period, quarterback Jared Goff connected with Woods deep down the right sideline for a touchdown. It was one of Goff’s better passes on the day, hitting the wide receiver in stride.

8) The No. 16 to No. 17 connection struck again on another deep pass, this time during 7-on-7 drills. It looked like Woods ran either a deep seam route or a post route. And on the next play, Goff dropped in a nice deep out to wide receiver Josh Reynolds on the left side. This came after a set of plays where the defense had great coverage, essentially preventing any completions — showing the competitiveness of both units.

9) During a water break, safety Eric Weddle, cornerback Aqib Talib, and cornerback Marcus Peters were all chatting with McVay. The subject matter was unclear, but it does show how McVay is certainly not just the head coach of the offense — he’s heavily involved on both sides of the ball.

10) Finally, the Rams held a competitive 11-on-11, two-minute period, during which the defensive backs continued to excel. Peters had strong coverage on the defense’s right sideline for an out route, forcing a throwaway. Safety John Johnson had good coverage down the field on a deep route, also forcing an incompletion. And Talib ended the drill by tipping an intermediate pass up and then making the catch for an interception.

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