Check out photos from the Los Angeles Rams practice as the team gets ready to take on the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Rams began their preparation week for the Jaguars on Wednesday afternoon at Cal Lutheran. Los Angeles will travel to Jacksonville in Week 6, before heading to London to face the Cardinals.
The Rams released their official injury report after Wednesday's practice. Six players were listed on the release, including left tackle Andrew Whitworth, center John Sullivan and outside linebacker Connor Barwin. All three were held out of Wednesday's session for rest, as part of the team's "maintenance program" meant to keep many of the veteran players healthy for game action.
Linebacker Mark Barron and cornerback Troy Hill did not participate in the afternoon session with a knee and shoulder injury, respectively. But head coach Sean McVay said Barron "should be good to go" for Sunday's matchup against the Jaguars.
JOYNER RETURNS TO PRACTICE
Safety Lamarcus Joyner returned to practice on Wednesday as a limited participant. Joyner suffered a hamstring injury two weeks ago and has been held out of practice ever since. The four-year pro said he "felt okay," during the session, but was admittedly "a little rusty."
"I have to get back into the groove, but it was okay for the most part," he said. "I'm going through the process, I'm progressing, getting better, and that's all that matters at this point right now."
Joyner said sitting out of two games has been extremely difficult for him, especially as someone who "loves the game," and wants to be out on field "to help his teammates win."
However, in sitting on the sidelines, the former Florida State standout did get a chance to watch and evaluate rookie John Johnson III, who stepped in as a starter in Week 5 in place of Maurice Alexander.
"He played really well," Joyner said. "[It was] definitely a good game to show how good of a football player you can be and I think he handled the situation well."
And though Joyner says his status for Week 6 is "still up in the air," he and McVay are optimistic about his progress.
"Tomorrow will really offer a great feel for us in terms of we'll ramp up the tempo a little bit, we'll put the pads on," McVay said. "So, that will give us a better indicator of where Lamarcus is at and how his hamstring handles a little bit heavier workload and then I think that will give us an idea if he'll be ready to go against Jacksonville or not."
In last week's game against the Seahawks, the Rams' defense was challenged by a mobile, dual-threat quarterback in Russell Wilson. This week, the unit will be tasked with containing another dynamic player, running back Leonard Fournette.
Through five games, Fournette has recorded 594 yards from scrimmage and six touchdowns. The rookie out of LSU has set the tone for the Jaguars' offense, and has become known as an explosive rusher who is not afraid of a little contact.
"He's a physical guy and it shows up on tape," middle linebacker Alec Ogletree said. "He runs downhill and really tries to make you miss. But we have a plan for everyone to put in and if everybody sticks to the game plan, I think we will come out pretty well."
Fournette had an exceptional showing in last week's 30-9 victory over the Steelers, rushing for 181 yards and two touchdowns. But the highlight of his performance came early in the fourth quarter as he was attempting to run time off the clock.
Fournette took the ball around the edge, shrugged off one defender, and then encouraged safety Mike Mitchell to come his way by waving his hand towards him. And when asked about the challenges of facing a rusher who does not shy away from contact, Ogletree laughed saying "it's football, it's a contact sport."
"A guy like that, that's what he wants to do," Ogletree said. "He called out the safety from the Steelers to come do that, so we'll be ready. We know what type of game it's going to be — a physical game — and that's what we like to play."
Overall, Ogletree is hopeful that the defense can build off of their impressive game against Seattle, where they allowed the Seahawks to score just one touchdown. He believes, "with a good week of preparation," the Rams will be able to "go on the road and get a win."