The Rams held their one and only minicamp practice on Tuesday, completing the 2019 offseason program. Here are 10 observations from the session.
1) Less of an observation, more of a programming note — head coach Sean McVay announced that he decided to hold only one mandatory minicamp practice on Tuesday. It was a shortened, lighter session — particularly for the starters. In his press conference, McVay said he felt the Rams had gotten good work and good attendance throughout the offseason program, which was why there wasn’t necessarily a need for more practices later this week.
2) Defensive tackle Aaron Donald was not at practice, but McVay said the Rams and the star defender had worked that out beforehand. The head coach noted it was “a special exception,” but there was no problem with Donald going back to Pittsburgh for a family situation after the two-time defending AP Defensive Player of the Year took care of all necessarily team obligations on Monday.
3) It was hotter than it had been over the course of the offseason program in Thousand Oaks, with temperatures approaching the mid-90s for the midday practice. The Rams compensated for that by mixing in a few more water breaks throughout the time the club was on the field.
4) Before the session began, quarterbacks and centers were working on their snaps toward the far side of the field. Second-year offensive lineman Jamil Demby was among the snappers. As a sixth-round pick, last year Demby was more cross-trained as a guard and tackle. But as run game coordinator/offensive line coach Aaron Kromer noted on Tuesday, Demby has been taking snaps at all five positions during this offseason program, increasing his versatility.
5) Special teams got both kickoff and punt work during the first period of practice. Punter Johnny Hekker again looked like his leg was as strong as ever, booming a few kicks down the field.
6) Accentuating the nature of Tuesday’s session, L.A. held a 30-minute jog-through period for the first-team offense and defense on one field. The ball moved to different places on the field to work on different situations, but the tempo was not full speed. Wide receiver Cooper Kupp was involved on the offense, lining up at different spots to get in some routes.
7) On the other field, reserves went through individual drills for about the first 15 minutes of the period before transitioning into 11-on-11 work for the rest of the session.
8) Running back Darrell Henderson had the first play of those 11-on-11 drills, taking a screen down the sideline, avoiding the path of defenders with his shiftiness. Sure, the Rams don’t have pads on. But that is the kind of play that makes you feel like he can translate that ability to make people miss he displayed at Memphis to the highest level.
9) Wide receiver Mike Thomas made a nice reception from quarterback Brandon Allen. The signal-caller was rolling to his right after being flushed from the pocket, threw a short-to-intermediate pass to Thomas, who leaned out and got the ball in his hands before crossing the right sideline.
10) Finally, defensive back Dont’e Deayon made a couple impressive plays toward the end of practice. The first was an interception on the defense’s left — Deayon cut off a comeback route and took it all the way back for a touchdown, with basically the entire defensive sideline following him to pay dirt. A few plays later, Deayon leapt up and swatted a pass down the defense’s right seam. It was a strong period for him to end the offseason program.