The road to 2016 has begun.
Now in Phase III of the 2016 NFL Offseason, the Los Angeles Rams can begin holding organized team activities (OTAs). In fact, they are the only team yet to get started. That changes on Tuesday when the Rams host their first of nine OTAs:
- Tuesday, May 31
- Wednesday, June 1
- Friday, June 3
- Tuesday, June 7
- Wednesday, June 8
- Friday, June 10
- Monday, June 13
- Tuesday, June 14
- Thursday, June 16
Per the league:
No live contact is permitted, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are permitted.
That being said, here are the three major storylines to track over the next three weeks:
This is always the biggest angle. Note that OTAs are often largely used to begin getting players back into football shape and not just weight room shape. That always ups the risk of fluky injuries.
There's also the angle of Rams players coming back from injuries in 2015 as they get back to full speed including DE Robert Quinn, S T.J. McDonald, CB E.J. Gaines, LB Alec Ogletree, G Rodger Saffold, G Jamon Brown, OT Darrell Williams and WR Stedman Bailey. Quinn and McDonald both had late season surgery, so they may not be able to go until training camp in two months.
Goff and Gurley
The Rams offense has the faces of the franchise: rookie QB Jared Goff and RB Todd Gurley. Coming off a season in which the Rams had the worst offense in the NFL in yards gained, they're likely to bear the most pressure to right the ship.
Moreover, the two have a combined 13 games of NFL experience. The coming months will require them, and the rest of the Rams' young offense, to get in sync quickly especially with so many other rookies (drafted and UDFAs) vying for time.
The Rams defense will look very different this year. Gone are four starters in DE Chris Long, MLB James Laurinaitis, CB Janoris Jenkins and S Rodney McLeod. Replacing them will be...well, we'll have to see. The favorites are likely DE William Hayes, Ogletree (with S Mark Barron sliding under to take his spot), Gaines and S Maurice Alexander, though I think that last one is much less certain than others are playing it up right now. Once we get to camp and really start getting into the mix, I wouldn't be surprised if we see some rotation at that safety position.
We'll be keeping tabs on things, even though there's not a ton of hard news throughout OTAs as long as nobody gets injured (fingers crossed).