With us being two weeks into training camp, it seems like a good time to jump back into the LA Rams Weekly Roundup. The article is written on Mondays during the off-season and Fridays during the season. This will be your one-stop shop to get all of your LA Rams news before and after each game. In the previous article, we talked about a few position battles and how the players are handling the Hard Knocks/Covid-19 situation. This week will focus a little more on football, as the rams have already had a handful of padded practices and an intrasquad scrimmage.
Rookies Impress Veteran Rams in Intrasquad Scrimmage
On offense, Cam Akers and Van Jefferson were able to get a lot of work in with the first-team offense. Even before Darrell Henderson went down with a leg injury, Akers was running ahead of him with the one’s. Akers had a “welcome to the NFL” moment when he collided on a huge hit from Jalen Ramsey. The back out of FSU shook it off and led the Rams into the red-zone, only for Akers to meet Aaron Donald heads up on the next snap and cough up the ball. Take this one with a grain of salt, though, because we all know that Donald is an insanely good football player.
Jefferson may have made an even bigger impression, not just because of his elite route running, but because he is learning the entire offense. “He wants to learn everything” fellow receiver Cooper Kupp said, not just his own job. This type of commitment doesn’t usually come from a rookie.
On defense, the injury to Taylor Rapp’s knee has opened up more reps for rookie defensive backs Terrell Burgess and Jordan Fuller. Both players were able to intercept a pass during the scrimmage and were generally all over the field on every play. With the Rams looking to become much more versatile defensively in 2020, both Burgess and Fuller will be lining up all over the formation, especially Burgess. The Utah alum is a hybrid defender who can man the slot and the free safety position. Rams fans probably remember LaMarcus Joyner played that role a few years ago for the Rams and was very successful.
Kicking Competition Heats Up
Coming into training camp, the LA Rams brought in three kickers in an effort to see who will replace Greg Zuerlein. Austin MacGinnis was signed out of the XFL, Sam Sloman was drafted in the seventh round and the team also brought in former CFL star kicker Lirim Hajrullahu.
During the scrimmage the Rams had the kickers attempt five field goals each. Sloman made three of five, MacGinnis made four of five and Hajrullahu connected on all five of his attempts. Not only was Hajrullaju seem to be more focused on the job currently, he also has the experience of nailing game winning kicks in professional football championship games– he kicked the game-winning field goal in the 105th Grey Cup for Toronto.
Henderson set to miss time
Despite having only a “Minor Grade one” strain of his hamstring, Darrell Henderson is looking very dicey for the week one matchup with the Cowboys. The team seems set on first and second down, as well as at the goal line. The combination of Cam Akers and Malcolm Brown is more that capable of winning football games. However, having Henderson also in that backfield gives the Rams a chance to give Akers and Brown breathers when they normally would not.
Henderson has also been at the top of the depth chart when it comes to who the Rams receiving back will be. His acceleration is in the top 95 percent of the league, making screen passes deadly. Soft tissue injures can tend to linger, however, until the off-season–because they require so much rest. Let’s just hope for the Rams sake that this isn’t a lingering issue and the team can get back to pounding the rock to it’s three-headed-monster at running back.
Rams’ Offensive line taking shape
When the first training camp practice started, LA Rams fans probably had a keen interest in the offensive lineman, more that any other position group. As the unit that caused the team the most trouble, had the least amount of continuity and to boot also had the worst tape; the offensive line was an easy decision for fans looking to worry about something. The unit has got to stay healthy and consistent in 2020 or the Rams will miss the playoffs again.
The first team offensive line has been lining up as follows: Andrew Whitworth (LT), Joseph Noteboom (LG), Austin Blythe (C), Austin Corbett (RG) and Rob Havenstein (RT). The second team lined up like this: Bobby Evans (LT), Tremayne Anchrum (LG), Jeremiah Kolone (C), Jamil Demby (RG) and David Edwards (RT).
The team rotated a few of the younger guys into different spots at times in order to give breathers, but the first team line is looking like the week one version. The most veteran guys are starting, but how much of an impact will that have on the young guys who are on the bench? Evans and Edwards seemed to improve as the year went on, and it could be hard for them to make progress after being practically demoted.