Team insider Myles Simmons shares his top 10 observations from Los Angeles’ eighth OTA session of the spring.
1) Tuesday’s session began with a catch-in-traffic drill. Wide receivers, tight ends, and running backs each caught passes from quarterbacks before running between a pair of coaches using blocking bags to try to jar the ball loose. Essentially, the receivers had to catch the ball then turn and cover it up running down the field.
2) Rams legendary wideout Torry Holt — in town and at practice as a coaching intern — actually participated in the catch-in-traffic drill. He caught a few passes from quarterback Jared Goff at the end of the line of wide receivers. He then stayed with the WRs during individual drills, giving tips to the current players as they went through a footwork drill.
3) Quarterbacks and running backs worked on screen plays during an individual period. Centers were also with them, having to run out in front of the running back in order to block for him. That’s a test of athleticism for centers in many ways, as it’s not really the easiest thing to get in front of someone as fast as Todd Gurley.
4) Goff continued to display his solid chemistry with his receivers on Tuesday. Early in the first 11-on-11 period, the quarterback faked a handoff to his right, rolled to his left, then flipped his hips, set his feet, and launched a deep ball down the left side of the field to wide receiver Cooper Kupp. The Eastern Washington product got under the pass — which was perfectly thrown — and sailed into the end zone for what would have been a touchdown. It was a high degree-of-difficulty throw from Goff and he executed it well.
5) The signal-caller also connected** on a long pass to wide receiver Brandin Cooks during 11-on-11. It was also a throw that came off of play action, but Goff stayed in the pocket for this one. It ended up as about a 60-yard completion for a touchdown.
6) Defensively, cornerback Sam Shields showed that he has a lot of speed in competing with Cooks. Shields nearly caught up with Cooks on the long touchdown, and stayed with him to deflect a shorter pass to the end zone on the left sideline during 7-on-7 a bit later in practice.
7) Wide receiver Josh Reynolds also made a nice catch during 7-on-7 drills, albeit on the scout offense. Reynolds used all of his 6-foot-3 frame to go up and catch a deep ball on the offense’s left from quarterback Brandon Allen. The wide receiver’s size is part of what could potentially make him an asset for Los Angeles in the red zone in 2018.
8) The Rams practiced kick returns with the new rules during their special teams period on Tuesday. With the new rules, only three players may be outside the 15-yard “setup zone,” which effectively means teams may only have one returner and two blockers for him set up deep. But in Thursday’s practice, L.A. displayed just how creative the club can be in utilizing those three athletes on a kickoff.
9) Running back Malcolm Brown made his mark in the latter stages of practice, making a number of catches in the red zone during 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills. One of Brown’s touchdown receptions came on a screen, which goes back to what quarterbacks and running backs were working on at the start of practice.
10) Finally, tight end Gerald Everett made a nice catch on a fade route on the right sideline in the end zone for a touchdown. Everett caught the pass over a defender and held on as he went to the ground. The tight end had a solid day, making a number of receptions.