The Rams began Phase III of their offseason program on Monday with their first organized team activity practice. Here are five takeaways from the first session of OTAs.
1) Aaron Donald absent
The biggest story from Monday was the absence of All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald. General manager Les Snead confirmed following practice that it's a contract-related issue with Donald, and that the club was aware he would not be in attendance at OTAs.
There have been discussions between the Rams and Donald's representation, which Snead said have reached the serious stages.
"These things — it's a process," Snead said. "We like Aaron, there's no doubt. He's a really good player. We want him to be a Ram. That's our goal. I think his goal is to be a Ram, and that's what we're working toward."
"I'm very hopeful that this thing will get done," Snead added.
2) Goff picking up offense well**
While second-year quarterback Jared Goff is learning a new offense head coach Sean McVay, he said he's picking up this scheme well.
"It's a way different offense. But personally, from my brief experience with it, I've had a quicker time learning it — an easier time learning it," Goff said. "I don't know whether that's scheme or the way it's taught or what not. But I've enjoyed spending time with the coaches and picking it up pretty quickly."
Offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur recently praised Goff for being a quick study.
"He's really grasped the offense surprisingly fast, especially for a new guy," offensive coordinator LaFleur said at rookie minicamp earlier this month. "When you get a new guy in an offense, there is a transition period with that, but he's done a nice job at picking it up at a surprisingly quick pace."
3) Goff has added weight
Last year, Goff came in sporting 215 pounds on his 6-foot-4 frame. Now, he's added some weight as he begins OTAs in Year 2.
"I've probably put on five to 10 pounds," Goff said. "I feel good. I feel strong. I feel like this is the best shape I've been in in a long time. But that's kind of been every year. Every year I've kind of gotten bigger and stronger and I'm still growing. I don't think I'm growing in height, as much as I'm getting a little bit wider."
4) Woods developing chemistry with Goff**
The Rams brought in free agent wide receiver Robert Woods to be a reliable target for Goff, and so far the two are doing well to get on the same page.
"We've been connecting," Woods said. "The biggest thing is we're talking in the meetings, and we're coming out here and seeing it on the field. We're seeing how the defense plays, and the biggest thing is we're coming out here and executing what we've talked about."
Woods brought up one play in particular from Monday, where conversations between the two paid off.
"Just coming out here when we work, he listens. We're out here communicating," Woods said. "The same pass we completed today, we had the same look a few weeks ago. And this time, he threw it and it was a perfect pass. He just puts the ball in perfect position for the receivers to make plays."
5) What about a third quarterback?
Right now, the Rams have two quarterbacks on their roster in Goff and backup Sean Mannion. Teams typically carry three if not four quarterbacks during the offseason, but right now head coach Sean McVay appeared content with where the Rams are.
"I think something we've got to do a good job of monitoring the pitch count with Jared and with Sean Mannion, just making sure we're not wearing them out," McVay said. "I think we will look into [adding another quarterback] at some point. When that happens is in the offseason or for training camp — we're kind of evaluating that right now. The way that we've got it set up with going two OTAs, then kind of a phase one day and then that last OTA for the week, we feel good about those two right now and we've got a couple of coaches that can throw it around if necessary as well."