The Rams have officially turned their attention to Week 3 of the preseason, practicing in another non-padded session on Tuesday ahead of their game against the Chargers on Saturday.
The two teams met in early August for a pair of joint practices, the second of which featured an intense atmosphere due to a series of tussles between the players. Though the end result of the exhibition game won't matter too much, head coach Sean McVay still called the matchup, "a great opportunity" for his team to get better.
"We're hoping that it will be a good, competitive game where we'll play within the framework of the rules and that's what we expect from our players," he said.
OFFENSE STEADILY IMPROVING
This week's matchup with the Chargers will be the Rams' third preseason game of the year. As such, Saturday will represent a final opportunity for the Rams' first-team offense to showcase a consistent level of improvement, before handing it off to younger, less experienced players in Week 4 of the exhibition schedule.
After practice on Monday, McVay gave a lot of credit to the steady development of the offense as a whole, with quarterback Jared Goff "leading the charge" as a "point guard-like distributor."
"The offensive line did their jobs – tight ends, receivers, running backs. Then, I thought Jared did a good job making good decisions," McVay said. "But, when you look at some of the protection that he was able to have, that enabled him to be able to work through his progressions, make good decisions, [and] we were able to stay on schedule."
Through 37 drives on Saturday, Goff exhibited pinpoint accuracy and timing with his receiving corps. He also looked comfortable in the pocket and strong as a leader on the offense. The rest of the first-team offense looked sharp as well, with a balanced pass and run attack in three scoring drives.
On Sunday, McVay said that he believes having success like the offense did against the Raiders will give all players — including Goff — even more confidence moving forward, allowing them to come back into practice "with focus and concentration," as they look to "string together consecutive performances."
"To me, the truest measurement of performance is consistency and while we feel like there was some good things there, we've got some things that we can clean up," McVay said. "Being able to consistently do that week-in and week-out is what you see those really good offenses over the last handful of years in this league do and that's what we're going to be striving to do, as well."
Ahead of practice on Tuesday, the Rams made a pair of roster moves, signing defensive back Tyquwon Glass and outside linebacker Willie Mays. In corresponding moves, the team also waived running back De'Mard Llorens and defensive end Caushaud Lyons.
In the last few days, McVay and his staff have made an effort to boost the Rams' defensive depth as the team faces nagging injuries from a few of their key players. Though cornerback Kayvon Webster and linebacker Robert Quinn did participate in Monday's session, Webster was limited on Tuesday, while Quinn was sidelined again after he collided with defensive tackle Michael Brockers during the walk-thru.
"It was kind of a freak deal where Robert was going to practice and he got a little bit of a knee to the thigh from 'Big Brock' by accident. And those big thighs will give you a nice little charlie horse that will put you out," McVay said. "He's OK, it's just something that when you get hit in the right spot, it can actually be something that you'd be surprised on how much it inhibits your ability to move and that was why he wasn't out there today."
Linebacker Mark Barron was out for today's session. According to McVay, it looks like Barron will not play during the preseason.
"We know what Mark can do, we know what he's capable of and it's about getting Mark to September 10th as healthy as possible," he said. "Nothing is set in stone, but that's kind of the direction that we're leaning right now."
Cornerbacks Michael Jordan, Kevin Peterson, and Troy Hill, along with safety Cody Davis were also inactive on Tuesday.
Wide receiver Sammy Watkins made his game debut as a Ram last Saturday against the Raiders, catching a pair of passes for eight yards. After his first full week in Los Angeles, Watkins spoke to the media about how he has adjusted to the team thus far.
On how he has adjusted to the team and the city since he was traded: "Definitely challenging. But for me, it's really just to come in and try to learn and help as much as I can. I've been learning pretty good, the offense. Just getting around the guys, feeling more like myself every day and just figuring the guys out and having fun. That's really what it's about."
On if he was comfortable with what he was asked to do in the game against the Raiders: "Definitely some jitters. I was definitely comfortable, but at the same time, you kind of run to the line thinking like, 'Oh, what do I have?'. So I couldn't really play fast as I wanted to, but that just comes with reps and having more time with the QB, with the offense, and just playing more."