Check out photos from the Los Angeles Rams week 16 practice as the team prepares to take on the Tennessee Titans.
After a walk-thru on Wednesday, the Rams held their first practice of the week on Thursday afternoon at Cal Lutheran. Los Angeles will hold one more session on Friday, before travelling to Nashville for a Christmas Eve showdown with the Titans.
WHO'S PRACTICING, WHO'S NOT?
L.A. welcomed back several of its players to the practice field on Thursday.
Left tackle Andrew Whitworth, linebacker Mark Barron, and center John Sullivan — who were given their normal veteran rest days on Wednesday — returned to the session as limited participants, while outside linebacker Connor Barwin returned in full.
Outside linebacker Matt Longacre (back) and cornerback Troy Hill (illness) were the team's only non-participants.
DAVIS RETURNS TO THE PRACTICE FIELD
Safety Cody Davis was cleared for practice on Thursday for the first time in over a month after being placed on injured reserve on Nov. 3.
Prior to suffering a quad injury, the Texas Tech product had been an important contributor on both defense and special teams — recording an interception, two pass breakups, and 22 total tackles.
While Davis has enjoyed watching the success of his fellow teammates throughout the season, he was admittedly anxious to get back on field.
"Excited and happy for all of the success that this team has gotten accomplished," Davis said. "But sitting on the sidelines, you're just itching to get back out there, so it feels great to be out practicing with my teammates."
But the safety did acknowledge that the eight week timeline from being placed on injured reserve until now "worked out for the best," allowing him to progressively get back into the action on field.
Though the safety has returned to practice, Davis will not be eligible to return to the active roster until next week. From that point forward, Davis said he is excited to "get back and contribute" in whatever role he can.
"Wherever the coaches need me, I am going to try to be ready to fill that spot," Davis said.
THE RAMS ARE COMING TO TOWN
This Christmas, the Rams will travel over 2,000 miles to face the Titans. After a dominant victory in Seattle, L.A. will be looking to clinch division title with a win on Sunday.
But the Titans — who are currently the No. 5 seed in the AFC — will be eager to bounce back at home from consecutive road losses. As such, Tennessee should present the Rams with several challenges on both sides of the ball.
On offense, the Titans are led by third-year quarterback Marcus Mariota. The Oregon product has completed 62.8 percent of his passes for 2,832 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2017. Running backs DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry are two of the offense's best assets, combining for 1,598 yards and 11 touchdowns.
"They have two monsters running the ball," cornerback Troy Hill said. "We're going to have to be honed in on that run game and then with Marcus throwing the ball too, we just have to stop the run and then control the pass game."
Hill spent three years at Oregon opposite Mariota on the practice field. He characterized the former Heisman Trophy winner as a player with "all of the intangibles," and someone who "can make every throw on field."
Middle linebacker Alec Ogletree agreed, describing Mariota as a very athletic, dual-threat quarterback.
"People have been saying he's a little banged up or whatever, but he's still able to get out, get away from pressure, and make plays downfield," he said. "You definitely see the maturity that he's gotten over the years and he definitely presents a big challenge for us."
Offensively, L.A. will also be put to the test. On Sunday, the Rams will be facing a dominant defensive front led by Pro Bowl tackle Jurrell Casey, as well as a strong secondary flanked by cornerback Adoree Jackson and safety Kevin Byard.
"They have a great defensive line and a lot of young guys on the edge that are really going to compete," wide receiver Sammy Watkins said. "It's going to be a little challenging on the offense because they like to switch things up."
But Watkins said he's up for the challenge, adding players like Jackson and Byard present wide receivers with exactly "the types of matchups you're looking for."
"They're young [and] they'll be in your face, so it's going to be fun," Watkins said.