FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — After holding a walk-thru on Wednesday, the Rams held a full practice for their penultimate session of the 2018 season.
Though the Rams were not in pads for their second practice day at the Falcons facility, they were outside for the session that lasted just under 90 minutes from the first to final horn.
Check out photos from practice as the Los Angeles Rams prepare to face the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LIII.
"We were flexible with it, but I think just having the ability to go outside, get on this surface, and we felt like it was going to be a little bit better for their bodies, and the weather allowed us to do that," head coach Sean McVay told PFWA pool reporter Charean Williams. "So it was a great day."
Given that the two fields the Rams utilized do not have lights, McVay said the Rams had to be efficient with the way the team went about Thursday's on-field work. Temperatures were also hovering around 40 degrees by the time L.A. finished practice.
"You know what, [the sun] went down quick — that's why we were trying to stay on a tight schedule," McVay said. "And we got a lot of good work in, a lot of things that we can coach off of. And the main thing is I thought the guys came out and competed the right way, and gave us a chance to get better today."
Stretching ended at about 4:40 Eastern, and the Rams then went through some individual work on separate fields — just as they would have at their own facility in Thousand Oaks, Calif. — showing the importance of fundamentals as the team gets ready to play the Patriots in Super Bowl LIII.
Music played from the speaker system during the individual period included Kendrick Lamar's "Humble," though the mostly hip-hop playlist did not blare too loudly throughout the course of practice.
While the Thursday session was the most strenuous practice of the week — also as usual from the Rams' normal schedule, McVay said based on the way the practice schedule has worked over the last couple weeks the best course of action was to practice without pads.
"These guys know how to practice without pads on and still get as much as we want," McVay said. "The main reason sometimes that we end up wearing pads is just because it prevents some of the shoulder injuries and collisions. But feeling like let's peak at the right time, we gave them [the day] off [from] the pads, and we still got a bunch of good work in today."
The Rams were able to get in a lot of work moving the ball on both offense and defense. The team had two long 11-on-11 periods for both those two phases, with a 15-minute special teams period in between. With quarterback Jared Goff making a few strong throws, at one point a teammate on the defensive sideline exclaimed in praise, "I see you JG!"
"Because of where we're at with the gameplan, that enabled us to be able to go more situationally in the framework of a series — as opposed to just practicing third down, red zone, all in one sequence, you do it like a move-the-ball," McVay said. "And I thought that was good because that's how you play a game, and it forced our players to think a little bit more than we're accustomed to."
In terms of injuries, both kicker Greg Zuerlein (left foot) and safety Blake Countess (foot) were listed as limited.
"I talked to him today. He's feeling good," McVay said of Zuerlein, confirming that he will kick on Friday. "And that's kind of been the plan all along, so we're right on track with where we want to be."
"I think he's going to be good," McVay added on Countess. "I'll be interested to see how his foot felt when we talk to him when we go inside. But for him to get out here and get some movement, again, that was kind of on par with the course as far as how we anticipated this thing going with Blake when he ended up hurting that foot a couple weeks ago."
Overall, McVay said the team got what it needed to out of its Thursday practice.