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10 Observations from OTA No. 5

Team insider Myles Simmons shares his 10 observations from Los Angeles’ fifth OTA practice of the offseason program.

1) The defense started the session working on picking up takeaways once again. The defensive backs began with fumble recoveries, while linebackers practiced deflecting passes while in coverage on a receiver.

2) Offensively, Los Angeles was practicing quick passes off the line of scrimmage with the quarterbacks and skill position players. These would be important later in the session, based on the situations and scenarios the club was practicing.

3) In group drills, safety John Johnson showed off his strong vertical, leaping to make an interception. At that point the defense was going against air, but it was a good example of a player going up to get the ball at its highest point.

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4) In 11-on-11 drills**, cornerback Aqib Talib was back and made his presence known on one of the first plays from scrimmage. The first-team defense was once again on the field first against the second offense — just like it had been on Tuesday. The veteran batted down a pass toward the middle of the field, foiling a quick play from the scout offense.

5) On the first play of 7-on-7 drills, safety Lamarcus Joyner showed off his extensive range, sprinting from the middle of the field to his left in order to meet cornerback Aqib Talib and the scout-team wide receiver at the front corner of the end zone. The pass was high and would’ve been incomplete, but Joyner displayed strong instincts to move and get in position to help Talib — who was also in the receiver’s hip pocket. 

6) The offense and defense set up a compete drill to end 7-on-7, with the starting offense going for a two-point play against the starting defense. The pass fell incomplete, which meant the defense won. As punishment, the offensive unit — including the coaches — ran a gasser from one sideline to the other and back. Head coach Sean McVay was even in on it, setting the pace while running alongside the players.

7) During special teams drills, the four quarterbacks were on the second field practicing pocket presence. Coaches rolled a large black exercise ball at each signal-caller while he was dropping back. The QBs had to avoid the ball, and then make a pass to a wide receiver — usually Brandin Cooks — who was standing about five yards away on the left.

8) Also in special teams drills, punter Johnny Hekker seemed to be in midseason form, launching punts deep down the field off his right leg. Hekker kicked one punt from about the 10-yard line and it landed at the opponent’s 30. The All-Pro looks ready.

9) Working with the first-team defense at outside linebacker during 11-on-11, rookie Justin Lawler nearly picked off a pass on a wheel route down the defense’s left side of the field. The SMU product had the scout team’s pass in his hands, but couldn’t quite bring it in as he hit the ground. The OLB caught some flack from the defensive sideline for that.

10) Also in 11-on-11 drills, wide receiver Robert Woods ran a deep route down the right sideline. After the play, wide receiver Pharoh Cooper got sent into the offensive huddle — presumably to take Woods’ place. But Woods jogged back up the sideline and came right into the huddle, sending Cooper back to where the offense was standing behind the huddle. It’s a small gesture, but it’s an example of how Woods sets the standard for performance in the offensive group.

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