Practice Report: Injury Updates, Facing Off Against the Legion of Boom

The Rams held a light, non-padded session at Cal Lutheran on Friday morning to cap off their week of preparation for Seattle. Los Angeles will kick off against the Seahawks on Sunday afternoon at 1:05 p.m.

INJURY REPORT 

Right guard Jamon Brown is questionable for Sunday's game as he continues to deal with a groin injury that has kept him limited for the last few days. But head coach Sean McVay said he
"feels good" about Brown's ability to play this week. 

Safety Lamarcus Joyner continues to rehab a hamstring injury and was also sidelined from practice on Friday. McVay said Joyner has been progressing well, Joyner is doubtful for Week 5.

"Like we've talked about before, any time you're dealing with a soft tissue injury with a skill player [whose] game is so much predicated on speed, explosion and change in directional things, you want to be careful with him," McVay said. "But I think he's making great progress. He's doing all the things the right way and he'll be doubtful for this game. If he can go, great. If not, then we anticipate him being ready to go next week."

In Seattle, the Seahawks have a few key players out with injuries and could be without two of their starters on defense. Defensive ends Cliff Avril and Quinton Jefferson were ruled out with neck and hand injuries, respectively, while running back C.J. Prosise and cornerback Jeremy Lane are doubtful for Sunday.

Rounding out the Seahawks' injury report is linebacker Michael Wilhoite who is questionable with a hamstring injury.

FACING "THE LEGION OF BOOM"

Check out photos of the Los Angeles Rams as the team prepares to take on the Seattle Seahawks.

Though Seattle is coming off of a rough start to their season — losing road games to the Packers and Titans — offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur expects the consistently strong Seattle defense to challenge the Rams offense.

"There's a lot of continuity," LaFleur said of the Seahawks' defense. "You look at them up front and they've got multiple Pro Bowlers, those two linebackers are as good as it gets in this league and then again the secondary is, I mean they've been able to shut some people down. So, it's going to be a great measuring stick for our offense."

Los Angeles' offense is currently among the best in the league, averaging 35.5 points per game and 383.8 yards per game. Recently against the Seahawks, the Rams have struggled to score touchdowns, putting up a combined 12 points against Seattle last year — all coming from kicker Greg Zuerlein. And in Week 4, Zuerlein kicked seven field goals, contributing 23 of the team's 35 points against the Cowboys. As LaFleur pointed out, this Sunday, the Rams will need to capitalize on their time in the red zone by scoring touchdowns instead of settling of field goals.

"Unfortunately last week we didn't quite run it as well as we have been running it," Lafleur said of the team's red-zone efficiency. "There's tighter windows down there so you've got to be pin-point with your accuracy. So I would say that we've got to run it a little bit better down there and then when the opportunity presents itself for those off-schedules – we've got to come through."

But it won't be easy.

Seattle boasts a strong secondary deemed "the legion of boom" — a hard-hitting group of defensive backs led by cornerback Richard Sherman and safeties Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor. The group has led a Seattle defense that is consistently regarded as one of the best in the league since 2011.

LaFleur said much of Seattle's defensive success starts with Thomas, referring to him as a guy "that plays with his hair on fire." He also gave some insight as to what makes the group so dangerous to play against, pointing out the problems that players like Thomas and Sherman present.

"They're so good at diagnosing plays and then just teeing off on whatever they see," he said. "And then you talk about on the outside, both those corners, they're going to get up and challenge you each and every play."

"He's a really long guy and he can get his hands on you," LaFleur said of Sherman. "I think more than anything else, again a very smart player, and he's got really good ball skills. So, if you're off a little bit in terms of whether it's your route depth or if he can get a beat on what you're running and that ball isn't thrown on time with accuracy – he can make you pay."

WATKINS WANTS TO BE A TEAM PLAYER FIRST

When wide receiver Sammy Watkins was traded to the Rams during the preseason, many speculated that the former Bills' wideout would fill the team's No. 1 receiver role. But through four games this season, the Rams have focused heavily on spreading the ball around, leaving Watkins with fewer targets than anticipated.

The wideout currently has 14 catches for 211 yards and two touchdowns, with almost half of those numbers coming from Week 3's contest against the 49ers. Outside of that game, Watkins has eight catches for 105 yards. 

But if you ask Watkins about his targets — or lack thereof — he'll tell you that his goal is not to pad his stats as an individual. Rather, the fourth year pro is focused on showing his coaches and teammates that he can be a team player.

"Numbers are going to change every week — catches, receptions, targets," he said. "We have different guys and we're going off how the defense is playing. You might be open, but you might not get the ball because the look takes quarterback Jared Goff to the left side of the field. The goal is to keep putting on film that I'm a team player as far as blocking, running the right routes and getting open."

LaFleur said he has appreciated how Watkins has stayed engaged on the field and off, even through long in-game stretches without a target.

"I think that's a challenge for all players. The one thing I think it just kind of goes back to his character as a man," LaFleur said. "He's a very unselfish guy, which is a lot of fun to work with guys like that. We know he's going to come out and when his opportunity is called – we expect him to make plays for us."

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