The Rams have completed all 10 of their OTAs, which means there’s just one week of minicamp left in the offseason program before the team departs for summer break.
Here are five takeaways from Los Angeles’ third week of Phase III.
1) PLENTY OF SITUATIONAL WORK
One of the pillars of the program head coach Sean McVay has implemented in the last few years is that he wants the Rams to be situational masters.
To that end, Los Angeles has worked on plenty of specific situations throughout the course of OTAs. Two examples are third downs and red zone.
The Rams finished second in both yards and points last season, but there’s room for improvement in a number of different areas. L.A. did end the year No. 5 in third down conversion rate at 45 percent, but that number went down to 33 percent in the conference championship game and Super Bowl LIII.
And when it comes to the red zone, LA. ranked No. 18 in scoring touchdowns finished No. 22 scoring touchdowns in goal-to-go situations.
Because the Rams return the same offensive system and aren’t integrating any starters who weren’t on the team last year, the unit as a whole can focus on improving in these areas throughout the offseason program. It’s a luxury many teams around the league don’t have.
2) EVERETT STANDING OUT
It seemed like every day throughout OTAs, tight end Gerald Everett made an impressive catch. The third-year tight end has made an impacting spurts during his first couple of seasons, recording a total of 49 receptions for 564 yards with five touchdowns. He’s also taken three carries for 29 yards, displaying some versatility.
But as Everett enters his third year, there’s certainly room for growth in Los Angeles’ offense at the tight end position. And as a former second-round pick, it’s fair to expect Everett could fill it.
“Yeah I feel like I hold myself to even a higher standard not even referencing being a second-round [selection], but just trying to be an elite caliber player on the field and off the field as well,” Everett told therams.com this week. “Just trying to exceed expectations that they set for me and have those high standards for myself.”
If his performance during OTAs is any indication, Everett should be able to take a big step and meet those higher standards in 2019.
Check out photos of the Los Angeles Rams participating in OTAs.
3) KUPP STILL ON TRACK
Wide receiver Cooper Kupp has made some impressive strides in his recovery from his torn ACL suffered last November. As McVay has said, the Rams often have to hold Kupp back from doing too much or pushing himself too far during workouts.
McVay confirmed this week that Kupp is on course to play Week 1 against the Panthers in September.
“He’s really doing an excellent job staying right on track, making good progress, and we want it this way, where we’ve got to pull him back because he’s so excited to get back out there,” McVay said. “He wants to return to the competition with his teammates.”
While Kupp has not done full-speed 11-on-11 work, he has been able to participate in Los Angeles’ walk-thru and jog-thru situations. He’s also done a bit in individual drills, but not too much. Mainly Kupp has been working with trainers on the side, but it’s clear that he’s running and able to do plenty coming off the surgery.
4) MORGAN FOX WORKING HIS WAY BACK
Defensive lineman Morgan Fox was on pace to play a significant role in Los Angeles’ defense last year, taking reps at outside linebacker during the offseason program. But then he tore his ACL in OTAs and missed the entire 2018 season.
Now, Fox is back on the defensive line and once again appears to have a chance to play a lot of snaps in the rotation. Back in 2017, Fox played just over 30 percent of snaps, making 2.5 sacks. And even as he’s getting those critical 11-on-11 snaps, he’s spent time after practice every day getting in some extra reps with the sled or a tackling dummy.
“Just trying to make up for lost time, get back in the swing of things,” Fox said of his method. “Some things feel really great, some things feel rusty, so just trying to make sure that I cross all the boxes off.”
If Fox is at his best come the regular season, he’s a player who could benefit from the attention offenses are certainly going to pay to two-time defending AP Defensive Player of the Year, Aaron Donald.
5) DRAFT PICKS ARE SIGNED
As the club does every year, the Rams got all their draft picks signed on one day — this time that date was Friday, June 7. Los Angeles does it this way in order to first put the players through a rookie success program. The idea is to give them the information and tools to navigate through their first year in the league before they sign.
Now that it’s through, some of the draftees said the transition to the league felt even more official.
The rookies then got a tour of Rams’ future home, L.A. Stadium at Hollywood Park, and came away impressed.
“This is like the craziest thing I’ve ever seen,” rookie offensive lineman David Edwards said of the scale and magnitude of the project.
The new stadium is scheduled to be completed for the 2020 NFL season.
Check out the progress of our future home!