The Rams were back on the practice field for the first time since their dominant win over the Colts last weekend. With just four days until Los Angeles' Week 2 matchup with Washington, the team completed a non-padded session on Wednesday afternoon. L.A. is slated to work in full pads on Thursday.
JOHNSON NAMED PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Cornerback Trumaine Johnson was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week after a commanding performance in the Rams' season opener. Not only did the veteran cornerback record a pick-six on quarterback Scott Tolzien's first pass of the day, but he also forced and recovered a fumble, and allowed just two receptions on five targets.
This is the first time Johnson has been named Player of the Week in his six years in the league. Johnson said he was honored to be recognized and hopes to use that momentum moving forward.
"It's an honor, but I'm starving though. It's my first time getting the award, it's very humbling," he said. "[But] like I said, I'm hungry for more."
This weekend Johnson and the rest of the Rams' defense will face off against the Redskins. In the Washington offense, Johnson will likely often find himself matched up with wide receiver Terrelle Pryor, who is expected to be the Redskins' No. 1 big-play target this season.
"He's a good receiver, strong and physical, tall and fast," Johnson said. "That's one a lot of guys sleep on. He's an athlete, converted quarterback to a receiver, but he's still good. I'm not taking away from any of the other receivers too, but he's the main one we want to focus on."
After reporting to the Rams' facility over the weekend, defensive tackle Aaron Donald returned to the practice field this afternoon.
On Saturday, Donald passed the physical test during the team's walk-thru, but did not participate in Sunday's season opener. However, the three-time Pro Bowler is listed as a projected starter on the Rams' unofficial depth chart for Week 2.
"The way that he looked today — you never want to say never — but if things continue to progress the way that they look today, I feel pretty positive and optimistic that he will be ready to go," Rams head coach Sean McVay said.
For more on Donald's return, be sure to check out team insider Myles Simmons' full recap here.
MCVAY PREPARES TO FACE REDSKINS
On Sunday, McVay will get the chance to face off against the Redskins, a team he knows very well. Not only did he serve as their offensive coordinator for the past two seasons prior to joining the Rams, but he also considers Washington head coach Jay Gruden to be one of his greatest football mentors.
"When I first got a chance to get into coaching in this league, working for Jon Gruden and then being around Jay, those are two guys that I'm extremely close with," McVay said last week. "I know that I can always call them... He's a great resource for me and I think we'll even feel more comfortable sharing things with each other after Week 2."
McVay was also instrumental in the development of quarterback Kirk Cousins. On Thursday, Cousins said that he has a lot of respect for the Rams' head coach and praised McVay's ability to communicate with his quarterbacks and help them to progress.
"Well, being our play caller and our offensive coordinator, he had as big a role in my development as anybody. This is the first year in the NFL that I've not been able to work with him because he's been on the staff every year of my career with the Redskins," Cousins said. "I have a lot of respect for him and am grateful for the role that he played."
Check out some of the best shots from practice leading up to the Rams' matchup against the Washington Redskins.
There is a certain level of difficulty in preparing for a colleague that knows you so well and McVay admitted that Sunday's contest could end up like a chess game — with both coaches trying to anticipate the other's move. However, he did stress the need to fully prepare for the matchup, as the team would any other game.
"I think you have a familiarity with how each other operates, but really when you look at it, offensively we've done some different things based on some of the staff members that we have here, that have had success in other places," McVay said. "I know Jay's put his own little tweaks and wrinkles on it [and] they've done an excellent job."
"But, there's still a lot of things where it's about preparing the same way that you would, you do have a little bit of an idea of just some of the offenses. But again you don't know when they're going to do it, and we've got to do a good job of putting our players in good spots to make good decisions and then hopefully those guys will be able to execute on Sunday."
The Rams released their official injury report on Wednesday afternoon. Though Los Angeles reported zero injuries ahead of the team's season opener last weekend, the contest against the Colts has taken a bit of toll on the Ram's roster.
Cornerback Kayvon Webster and safety Maurice Alexander did not practice due to shoulder injuries. Both are "day to day."
Outside linebacker Connor Barwin and left tackle Andrew Whitworth were both held out of this afternoon's session, but did not have any injuries to report. The two veteran players are participating in what McVay has often referred to as "a maintenance program," and have been held out of practices in the past to keep them healthy for game action.
A FULL PRACTICE SQUAD
The Rams also announced that they had signed defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson to the team's practice squad. The team now has a full 10-man practice squad and 52-man active roster. Barring something unforeseen, the 53rd spot will belong to Donald later in the week.