With the three practices this week, the Rams have wrapped up six OTAs with four to come next week.
Here were the major outcomes this week:
McVay updates on Gurley
Rams Head Coach Sean McVay talked about RB Todd Gurley and his attendance at OTAs on Tuesday. While Gurley hasn’t participated in team drills, McVay confirmed that Gurley has been at team headquarters on a personalized rehabilitation plan to get ready for Week 1 against the Carolina Panthers but also for training camp in late July.
Kupp easing back into gear
WR Cooper Kupp continues to remain on track to be available for the regular season after tearing his ACL in mid-November. McVay noted that Kupp has been able to get involved even in some 11-on-11 drills (which weren’t allowed for teams until OTAs began). Obviously this matter less in late May and more in late July, but it’s better to be on track than to be lagging behind especially for a player of Kupp’s importance.
This wasn’t an on-field outcome, but a major headline nonetheless.
The Rams extended CB Troy Hill through the 2020 season. While Hill has often drawn scorn from fans for his play, he’s been a key member of the secondary filling in for an injured CB Kayvon Webster late in 2017 into the playoffs and covering down for CB Aqib Talib for half of 2018.
The signing is also crucial as it gives the Rams, along with rookie CB David Long, a pair of outside cornerbacks on the 2020 depth chart with both Talib and CB Marcus Peters in contract years. While the Rams have suggested publicly they’re keen to re-sign Peters, Hill’s extension gives the Rams depth chart support should talks with Peters fall through which is a significant buffer as the Rams have historically been unwilling to meet market value for top defensive backs in the last half dozen years or so.
Personnel getting locked in
It’s early, and reporting is scant here since the Rams have a pretty restrictive policy on reporting. It appears, though, that the Rams have their starting offensive line with a clear answer on a personnel transition on defense as well.
For the O-line, the Rams moved on from LG Rodger Saffold III and C John Sullivan this offseason, but because of their early investments from the 2018 NFL Draft, they had replacements on hand. Joseph Noteboom has been working at the starting left guard spot while Brian Allen has had the early nod at center. Now that’s certainly subject to change, but as it stands they’re filling in the vacated slots with the other three starting linemen returning from 2018 in LT Andrew Whitworth, RG Austin Blythe and RT Rob Havenstein.
On defense, the Rams had some attrition to deal with. DL Ndamukong Suh, LB Mark Barron and S Lamarcus Joyner all departed earlier this offseason. While the defensive line and safety rotation has yet to get worked out, it sounds like LB Micah Kiser is growing into the ILB slot vacated by Barron. While the addition of Clay Matthews gives Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips an extra option, it sounds like he’s being used more flexibly with Kiser locked inside. Snap counts will be hard to gauge prior to Week 1, but it looks like Kiser will be involved barring any decline in training camp and/or the preseason.
One other personnel note? The Rams have used three safeties in some situations getting S John Johnson III, S Eric Weddle and rookie S Taylor Rapp on the field at the same time. How much of that is an OTA thing and how much is legit installation? Who knows.
The Rams close out OTAs next week Monday through Thursday. The week after is the optional minicamp from Tuesday-Thursday, June 11-13. Attendance for minicamp is mandatory.
After that? Summer break ahead of camp.
We’re well on the road to 2019.