As reported in May, wide receiver Tavon Austin underwent surgery that has prevented him from fully participating in OTAs.
Nevertheless, Austin has been at the facility for each of the club's OTA practices, doing work with the strength and conditioning staff off to the side. Because the surgery was to his wrist, Austin is still able to stay in shape by running routes.
"I think with what he can control in the framework of his injury, Tavon is doing really a nice job," head coach Sean McVay said this week. "He's active on the sidelines. You see that he's continuing to try to just perfect his craft with being able to run routes, work on his hand-eye coordination while he can't fully utilize that wrist."
That's in addition to what Austin has done in the meeting room, where McVay said the wide receiver has been engaged.
Photos from Day 8 of the Los Angeles Rams organized team activities. Photos by Jeff Lewis.
"We wish he had him available right now," McVay said, "but I think he's doing a nice job being able to control what he can and he's getting better within the framework of that."
But in a larger sense, there has been plenty of competition at the wide receiver during Phase III of the offseason program. Los Angeles currently has 12 wide receivers on its roster and will have to significantly reduce that number at the end of the preseason. If there's a silver lining to Austin's injury, it's that younger players have been able take more practice reps to show what they can do.
"I think it is very competitive," McVay said of the position. "I think you've seen some guys that have been here do a nice job adjusting to some of the new verbiage, the new system that we're putting in place. You bring in a free-agent acquisition like Robert Woods — he's been exactly what we had hoped. And then these rookies are doing a nice job stepping up. I think Cooper Kupp's done some really good things being consistent day-in and day-out. You're seeing improvement from Josh Reynolds."
Even though the players feel what's going on, according to wideout Mike Thomas, there's a healthy attitude within the position group.
"We're all helping each other to get better because we've all go to learn," Thomas said. "There's a lot of friendly competition. There's a lot of guys that have hands, that can catch, that can run routes, that are fast. So it's friendly competition, but at the end of the day, we all want to see each other do great."