The Rams officially began practice week for the team's Week 9 matchup against the Giants on Wednesday afternoon. Los Angeles will practice at Cal Lutheran the next two days, before flying to the East Coast.
On Wednesday, the team released its first injury report of the week. The only injury-related absences from practice were safety Cody Davis (thigh) who did not participate, and wide receiver Josh Reynolds (concussion) who was limited.
As usual, several veteran players including linebacker Mark Barron, outside linebacker Connor Barwin, center John Sullivan, and left tackle Andrew Whitworth, were held from the afternoon session as part of the team's maintenance program.
Though Sullivan was injured in the Rams Week 7 contest against the Cardinals, head coach Sean McVay said he expects the center to ready to play on Sunday.
"We feel good about John," McVay said. "We're going to have a smart approach with players like him, Barwin, and Whitworth moving towards the latter half of the season because you feel so good about their ability to prepare above-the-neck, but also how we can manage them being as fresh as possible on Sunday."
GETTING BACK INTO "WORK" MODE
After several days off during the team's bye week, it's natural that players would need to knock some rust off when returning to the practice field. That's part of why the Rams had a session on Monday focused on fundamentals — to ease players back into their normal schedule.
Therefore, it's not much of a surprise that Wednesday's practice proved to be one of their best yet. Wide receiver Sammy Watkins said he and many others "were just happy to come back and were ready to finish the season out on top."
"This is what we're paid to do and you love to do this," middle linebacker Alec Ogletree agreed. "I think we have a good group of guys that love football. When you have that in the locker room it makes it easier to come to work and get the job done."
Quarterback Jared Goff said he spent the bye week working on his footwork and cleaning up some of the details of his game. But like many players, he did allow himself to rest and relax in an effort to come into the week ready to go. After Wednesday's practice, it seemed that mentality had paid off.
"I think today was one of our best practices of the year, really. Across the board — offensively, defensively, everyone was making plays," Goff said. "When you see that, you know that there was no drop off and there's probably even an increase with the bye week with getting healthy and getting fresh."
"Jared was hitting all of his receivers, making good decisions and we were running the ball and getting all of our right fits," left guard Rodger Saffold said. "Everybody was jelling and everything was super smooth — that's when you know that you're going to have a good week of practice [and] you know it's going to translate to the game.
TAKING NO GAMES FOR GRANTED
The Rams are undefeated on the road this season and will be looking to translate that success into a win over the Giants on Sunday. Left guard Jamon Brown said that the team has "locked into" what they're doing this year and will focus on "sharpening and fine tuning" the aspects of their game moving forward.
Though Los Angeles will be taking on a New York team who is 1-6 this season, Ogletree and Watkins say they cannot afford to to take anyone for granted — stressing the importance of their preparation for the contest.
"It's one game at a time and it's any given Sunday," Ogletree said. "Though their record is not what they want it to be, they're still a really good football team. We know that and we respect that. We're definitely looking forward to this week and if we have a great week of practice, go into the week with the right mindset, I like our chances for sure."
"You definitely have to watch," Watkins said. "They have Eli Manning first of all, then they have great players and great coaches, so you have to be cautious of teams like this."
SENDING LOVE TO THE BOYS IN BLUE
Football wasn't the only sport on the players and coaches minds this week. Just about 40 miles southeast of the Rams practice facility, the Dodgers were gearing up for Game 7 of the World Series against the Astros.
Before McVay's post-practice press conference, he sent a few well wishes to a Dodgers team looking for its first World Series win in the last 29 years.
"Exciting night tonight for the Dodgers," McVay said. "Getting a relationship with Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts, [I've] become a big fan of his and the way that he leads. So looking forward to watching that, pulling for those guys and hoping they find a way to come away with a world championship. But, either way, they've done a great job."