The Los Angeles Rams ran their second scrimmage at SoFi Stadium of the 2020 pre-season ramp up to their Week 1 showdown against the Dallas Cowboys on September 13th. The major takeaways from Saturday’s scrimmage have been that Cooper Kupp left early — but Sean McVay says he’s fine — and that punter/holder Johnny Hekker missed the game for the birth of his second child.
Neither of those would appear to have an impact on the regular season or the roster but what else do we know about Saturday’s second scrimmage?
This pass from Jared Goff to Van Jefferson
This is the 30-yard completion from QB Jared Goff to rookie WR Van Jefferson during the scrimmage that everyone was talking about earlier. pic.twitter.com/WwuN2j2C3n— Stu Jackson (@StuJRams) August 30, 2020
If Goff can trust Jefferson, it won’t matter how long he’s been in the league. After Kupp and Robert Woods, it is hard to project any other receiver besides Jefferson as the next best receiving threat. Goff reportedly went 19-of-26 for 183 yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions.
Rams rookie RB Cam Akers takes it up the middle for a scrimmage TD. The 1st-team offense's WRs on that drive were Woods, Reynolds & Jefferson.— Greg Beacham (@gregbeacham) August 29, 2020
Kicking competition is less clear than it was with Lirim Hajrullahu as the leader
A week ago people felt comfortable projecting Hajrullahu as the Rams kicker after he had the best performance at the scrimmage and potentially entered camp as the favorite. But on Saturday, it wasn’t so much that Hajrullahu struggled as it seems that LA is indeed entering a season with no experience at the place kicking position.
Hajrullahu went 5-of-8, missing kicks from 48, 48 and 53.
Austin MacGinnis went 6-of-8, missing kicks from 48 and 53.
Sam Sloman went 5-of-8, missing twice from 48 but making both his kicks from 53.
Aaron Donald’s two favorites: Micah Kiser and Xavier Jones
The Rams best player said he’s been impressed with probable starting inside linebacker Micah Kiser and roster bubble running back Xavier Jones through the first two scrimmages.
I asked Rams DT Aaron Donald which players have stood out to him as far as making plays during the two scrimmages, and he said ILB Micah Kiser and RB Xavier Jones.— Stu Jackson (@StuJRams) August 29, 2020
It’s a good sign for Kiser and the Rams if they’re able to swap out Cory Littleton for a cheaper option with Cory Littleton-sized upside. Kiser has been playing with the 1st alongside Travin Howard, but he was out on Saturday with a knee injury. He was replaced by Kenny Young, which may give us some idea of the depth chart at linebacker right now. On the outside, Leonard Floyd was apparently able to put some pressure on Goff a couple of times — pressures that may have been a sack if it was a live game.
And given that Darrell Henderson is missing valuable time with a soft tissue injury, Jones may be able to sneak his way onto the Week 1 roster, especially with endorsements like that one.
Early scores for two Rams
LA’s first team offense scored on each of the first two drives, including one touchdown to Robert Woods and one to Tyler Higbee. For Woods, he’d like to see a lot more plays like those after only scoring twice in 2019; three times if you include rushing. Similarly, Higbee has only scored seven touchdowns in four years but how much he’ll be integrated into the offense this year remains a mystery.
Taylor Rapp back on Monday
The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue reports that Rapp will return to practice on Monday and work his way into action with the hope of being ready for Week 1.
Punt returners and roster decisions
Nsimba Webster is presumed to be in the lead for the number five receiver spot and if the Rams only keep five, that probably means he’ll be returning punts and kicks. The other two players working out at that position are undrafted free agent rookie receivers Earnest Edwards and Trishton Jackson.
So it would seem that if any of those three ends up as the number five receiver, they’ll be there for special teams reasons. If they keep six receivers, it opens up the options at returner a little more but of course means they’re taking a roster spot away from somewhere else. It sure seems probable though that this year more than any other, if the Rams waive Edwards and Jackson, no other team is going to pick them up and LA will have 16 spots on the practice squad.
Meaning that the next man up won’t be too far away.