Check out photos from the Rams practice as they prepare to take on the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Rams held their second session of the week on Thursday afternoon at Cal Lutheran. Although there was a chance that practice would be moved due to the fires in Ventura County, head coach Sean McVay determined there were no air-quality issues that would interfere with player safety.
Check below for the top three storylines from Thursday:
The Rams injury update had a few additional names listed on Thursday, but overall there were no significant new injuries to report.
Running back Malcolm Brown (knee) was a full participant in practice. After injuring his knee in the team's Week 9 victory over the Giants, he is now expected to return in Week 14.
Center John Sullivan and left tackle Andrew Whitworth took limited reps on Thursday in accordance with their normal veteran schedules — meant to keep them healthy come game time — while linebacker Mark Barron (non-injury related) was a non-participant for the second-consecutive practice.
McVay said the training staff has continued to "be careful with Mark," but expects him to be ready to go on Sunday.
Middle linebacker Alec Ogletree (elbow), wide receiver Robert Woods (shoulder), and outside linebacker Connor Barwin (forearm) were also non-participants, as was free safety Lamarcus Joyner who tweaked his shoulder earlier this week.
Of the non-participants listed above, McVay said that the staff was "just being careful [with Lamarcus] especially putting the pads on today," but that they expect him to "be ready to go unless something changes." As for Ogletree, McVay said that Friday's practice will serve as a "measuring stick" for the training staff, giving them a better idea of his availability for Sunday.
"Alec is making good progress," McVay said, adding the Rams want to see how Ogletree is "able to get some pressure on that, see how he's able to shed and disconnect, especially just utilizing that elbow at the position that he's playing and how vital that will be."
Rounding out the Rams injury report was cornerback Dominique Hatfield, who was a limited participant with a hip injury.
IT'S ALL IN THE FAMILY FOR WATKINS
The phrase "football is family" is used frequently by the NFL throughout the season. But on Sunday, that phrase will take on a bit more meaning for Rams wide receiver Sammy Watkins.
In Los Angeles' Week 14 contest against Philadelphia, Watkins will take the field opposite his older, half-brother Jaylen — an Eagles' safety and special teams contributor.
"Most definitely [excited]," Sammy said. "I'm hoping he's going to be out there on defense so I can at least come down and crack him a few times. But it's great just having an older sibling that's playing the game."
Growing up, the half-brothers did not live in the same household, but did attend high school in the same Florida neighborhood. And although they went to separate colleges, Sammy claims there was always a little bit of sibling rivalry involved between the two.
"Almost every time when you're competing, you have a big brother, little brother [mentality]," he said. "We know the things to say to get under each other's skin so most of the times we always ended up mad."
The duo has only played on the same team once — when Jaylen was a member of the Bills practice squad in 2015 — but Sammy looks back fondly on their brief time together.
"It was actually fun," he said with a laugh. "I feel like both of us got better working against each other. Every day we corrected things in practice and when we got home, we would both watch film. I helped him on releases and he helped me with what DBs are looking for. I think he really got way better than he was and I got better too."
And while there will be plenty of brotherly love exchanged between Sammy and Jaylen both pregame and postgame, Sammy says it will be all business come Sunday's kickoff.
"I feel like he knows me and I know him so if I get to go up against him, I think I'm going to win a couple battles and he might win one or two," Sammy said. "But I'm pretty sure if he sees me creeping across the middle of the ball, he's going to knock me out. So, at the end of the day I have to do my job."
RAMS PLAYING MEANINGFUL DECEMBER FOOTBALL
Sunday's contest between the Rams and the Eagles is shaping up to be one of the biggest NFC games this season. Not only does it pit the leaders of the NFC East and NFC West against each other, but it will also carry some significant implications for the postseason.
And the magnitude of the game is not lost on the players.
"For us to be in this position this late in the season to have a game of this caliber it shows all the work we've put in," defensive lineman Michael Brockers said. "Usually in the past by this time we'd be thinking about the off season and things like that, so it feels good to have this feeling right now."
Check out photos of the Rams taking on the Eagles throughout the years.
For Brockers and many of the other veterans in the Rams' locker room, Sunday will mark one of the first times in their careers where they will be able to play meaningful football this late in the season.
"We understand the outcome of this game — everybody is playing for something right now," cornerback Trumaine Johnson said. "I've been saying it all month: I'm finally playing games that mean something. So it's going to be a nice one."
And as defensive tackle Aaron Donald said, while he feels good about the position that his team is in, he also acknowledged that it is still eager for more.
"We've got a lot more opportunities to go out there," he said. "So anytime you're winning, you're going to feel good about it. But we've got a lot of good players who are still hungry. And we're not comfortable yet."