With just six days left until the Rams' regular season opener on Sunday, the team returned to the practice field for a non-padded workout. After finalizing the initial 53-man roster over Labor Day weekend, today's session marked the official start to Week 1.
FIRST LOOK AT THE ACTIVE ROSTER
Monday's session provided the coaching staff with their first look at the team's 53-man roster and practice squad. Head coach Sean McVay described the afternoon as a "great day" where the team focused on its "game plan offensively, defensively, and [on] special teams" heading into this Sunday's matchup against the Colts.
Over the long weekend, the Rams trimmed their roster from 90 to 53 men, before being assigned three new players via the waiver system. Los Angeles was assigned center J.J. Dielman from the Bengals, center Aaron Neary from the Eagles, and defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson from the Seahawks. All were full participants in practice today.
Check out photos of the first official 53-man roster players
Also joining the team on Monday was tight end Derek Carrier, whom the Rams acquired on Saturday through a trade with Washington.
The trade has reunited Carrier with McVay, who served as his offensive coordinator through two seasons in Washington. McVay says the tight end's familiarity with the system will provide him an advantage moving forward.
"I think it certainly helps. When you look at what you're trying to do at the tight end position, they're still using a lot of the same verbiage in Washington that we're using here. So, I think it's going to be an easy transition," McVay said.
And though today marked Carrier's first practice with the team, McVay said Carrier will play in this weekend's opener.
"He's going to be ready to go," McVay said. "He'll be active, he'll play, and he'll see snaps for sure."
EXCITEMENT BUILDS FOR SEASON OPENER
As the team has reached games that count, McVay and many of his players described an added energy and enthusiasm from Monday's practice.
"It feels different," McVay said of the game week. "There's a level of urgency that's raised in the entire building. And this is what everything is built towards, is, really, the regular season. Our guys have done a great job of utilizing the offseason program [and] training camp to put ourselves in a position to be ready to go...but, we know that we're still focused on taking it one day at a time and hopefully that will lead to us peaking at one o'clock on Sunday."
While the preseason was a good practice period for many of the young players on the Rams' roster, veterans like cornerback Trumaine Johnson and left tackle Andrew Whitworth expressed their enthusiasm to take the field in a game that actually matters long term.
"I woke up in a great mood, I put it on my snapchat — Week 1, I'm ready," Johnson said. "I know it's only Monday, but I'm excited to get back. ... I can't wait to get out there with them guys in Week 1 when everything counts."
"Yeah, I'm always excited to start the regular season," Whitworth said. "It's fun, the energy, just the atmosphere there that first week of the year. I'm sure everybody's ramped up a little bit across the league and it's always a fun week."
ADDITIONAL ROSTER MOVES
At the conclusion of Monday's practice, the Rams announced they had added a third quarterback to the roster, claiming Brandon Allen off waivers from the Jaguars. In a corresponding move, the team waived cornerback Kevin Peterson.
Although McVay has no previous experience with Allen, current quarterbacks coach, Greg Olson was Allen's offensive coordinator last year in Jacksonville.
"He was a guy that some of our coaches are familiar with," McVay said. "He's a guy that's put some good stuff on tape. Adding Brandon, we'll be able to develop him and see how he does. He's a guy that his tape has merited the claim and I think we feel good about that."
Additionally, the Rams announced that they had reached an injury settlement with wide receiver Nelson Spruce, waiving him from the reserve/injured list. The team also re-signed defensive tackle, Louis Trinca-Pasat to its practice squad.
After Monday's session, McVay took the time to address the media and discussed the team's captains for the upcoming season. Catch up on his most important points of the day and check out the full interview below.
On if he has decided on his team captains: "I think it's a big deal that you let the players vote for it. We've got a lot of guys that I think are capable captains that represent a lot of things that you guys hear us talk about – in terms of what we want our team, what do we want our players to embody. But, we'll let the players vote on that. We'll do that this week and I think there's a great honor in being voted by your teammates as a captain. And that's something that we'll do this week.