THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Rams head coach Sean McVay held his second weekly press conference of organized team activities (OTAs), discussing the latest on contract talks with defensive lineman Aaron Donald, approach to next week's minicamp, and more.
Here are some of the highlights and key takeaways from that conversation following Thursday's session.
Talks with Donald "trending in the right direction"
As Donald and the team continue to work toward a new deal, positive progress is being made, according to McVay.
Donald's appearance on the "I Am Athlete" podcast generated headlines when he said he'd be "at peace" with his career if he and the team couldn't come to an agreement on a new contract. However, McVay said "that's not any new information" to the Rams.
"Like I've said, we've had great dialogue," McVay said. "The goal all along has been to try to get this thing figured out, but also, like I've said, if there's anybody that's earned the right to be able to make the decision on their own terms, after what he's done, what he's meant to me, to our team, it's Aaron. But things are trending in the right direction."
McVay said the team has "regular dialogue" with Donald and the goal is "to figure out how to get a contract done that he feels good about, that we feel good about, and have him continue to do his thing for the Rams leading the way."
Carrying over the same approach to minicamp
The Rams are scheduled to conduct their mandatory minicamp June 7-9 next week, and it will look much like the way OTAs have been.
Last week, McVay said the Rams were taking a cautious approach to spring workouts given the number of players who sustained injuries last season. Next week, the same mission will be in place in terms of keeping players healthy during this time.
"We've got so many guys that are banged up," McVay said. "I think for us, getting into the offseason program where there was almost less than two months until we started this up, let's keep guys healthy as long as we can, let's really challenge these above the neck, get a chance to evaluate some of these younger guys and some competitive seven on seven periods. But knowing that we're gonna get a chance to report (to training camp) a little bit earlier with the September 8 kick off, that's the approach so it'll be almost identical to the structure you guys have seen."
Rob Havenstein the leader
With Andrew Whitworth retiring, Havenstein is now the most experienced member of the offensive line room. In that regard, McVay said Havenstein has "seamlessly asserted himself as that leader."
Part of the reason that is the case is because Havenstein has done so when Whitworth has misssed time.
"I think he's been outstanding the last two years," McVay said. "He's really taken over a leadership role, which really he's been leading when you look at when Big Whit's missed a handful of games the last couple of years."