The Los Angeles Rams hosted an intra-squad scrimmage on Thursday in order to prepare for the September 12th matchup against the Chicago Bears at Sofi Stadium. LA has held the team’s starters and key role players out of preseason action. Aside from joint practices held with the Dallas Cowboys and Las Vegas Raiders, this figures to be a full game simulation for those who are planning to make the regular season 53-man roster.
The intra-squad scrimmage is closed to the public, but we’ve gathered some tweets and observations to get you up to speed.
Around 35-38 Rams have not participated in the preseason, which, barring any surprise cuts, leaves only 15 or so roster spots up for grabs. Los Angeles will take the field for their final preseason game Saturday night in Denver against the Broncos.
The Rams are holding an intrasquad scrimmage today. "I want to push these guys to try to create a game like atmosphere," Sean McVay said. Following today's scrimmage, the Rams will begin early stages of planning for their Week 1 game against the Chicago Bears.— Lindsey Thiry (@LindseyThiry) August 26, 2021
Sony Michel takes the field for first practice as a Rams RB
It seems freshly acquired running back Sony Michel has joined the team in Los Angeles. The Rams reportedly sent a 2022 sixth round draft selection with a 2023 fourth rounder to the New England Patriots in exchange for the veteran. Michel will wear number 14 for LA, which is a unique number choice for a running back. However, there is a possibility players change numbers once final cuts are made.
Rams/Pats had interesting initial trade terms that bundled picks and exchanged for an incoming comp pick, but a change in league policy prohibits exchanging conditional comp picks.— Jourdan Rodrigue (@JourdanRodrigue) August 25, 2021
Teams ultimately worked out a 2022 6th and 2023 4th for Michel, after revising initial terms.
Sony Michel at practice, wearing No. 14 pic.twitter.com/2WCOKf2kmQ— Stu Jackson (@StuJRams) August 26, 2021
Rookie CB Robert Rochell is returning to health
After suffering a wrist injury early in training camp, rookie corner Robert Rochell appears to be on the mend. Rochell has had some run with the first team at times, and given his elite athleticism he could play a key role on special teams as well
Rookie CB Robert Rochell still has a protective cast but is officially out of the club today and not in a non-contact jersey so his workload will increase.— Jourdan Rodrigue (@JourdanRodrigue) August 26, 2021
EDGE Terrell Lewis stands out
While EDGE rushers Chris Garrett and Justin Lawler have both had excellent performances in the preseason, Terrell Lewis did not participate because of a lingering knee issue. With final cuts looming, Lewis has joined his teammates on the practice field and is looking to make the most of his opportunity. The former third round draft selection is a high-end athlete and flashed potential at times last season; however, it remains to be seen if Lewis can remain healthy and become a reliable contributor at OLB.
Terrell Lewis is flat-out getting after it today, run and pass downs. Good for him. Just his second or so day back in awhile.— Jourdan Rodrigue (@JourdanRodrigue) August 26, 2021
Notable play-by-play action
Wide receiver Cooper Kupp increasingly seems to be a favorite target of quarterback Matthew Stafford. The two linked up again on a deep pass during the scrimmage. While Kupp has recently been a trusted option on short and intermediate passes, it is encouraging to see him use the full depth of the field.
With the first team offense working against the second team defense, WR Cooper Kupp just collected a deep pass downfield from Matthew Stafford for a TD. Loads of self-created space around the catch point. Offense wanted that one bad after a couple misses on the drive.— Jourdan Rodrigue (@JourdanRodrigue) August 26, 2021
The most recent reports indicate that Kenny Young is the favorite to take the most snaps at inside linebacker earlier in the season. The starting ILB duo figures to be Young and Troy Reeder, but Reeder will likely be replaced by an extra defensive back in certain sub packages and passing situations. Young is a rangy and athletic linebacker that can play sideline-to-sideline.
Defensively, Kenny Young and Jordan Fuller had nice pass breakups against John Wolford earlier.— Stu Jackson (@StuJRams) August 26, 2021
Really like Kenny Young’s energy and activity today. Hasn’t been just today that he’s shown a lot of both, of course, but he’s been moving around and vocal.— Stu Jackson (@StuJRams) August 26, 2021
Van Jefferson seems to be continuing his streak of solid plays in practice. One of the lingering questions for the Rams on offense will be the target distribution between Jefferson and DeSean Jackson as the third and fourth wide receivers. If Jefferson can play a significant role this season, LA should be able to manage Jackson’s workload to prevent wear and tear.
Rams first team offense vs first team defense in the RZ was an impressive period; one notable sequence was a bad snap Stafford had to fall on for a negative play, followed on next passing play by TD to Jefferson in corner EZ; design of play sprung him open for brief window.— Jourdan Rodrigue (@JourdanRodrigue) August 26, 2021
Stafford also completed a touchdown pass to veteran tight-end Tyler Higbee against what appears to be starting corner Darious Williams who is wearing number 11 this season. Higbee is important to the team as both a blocker and receiver, though it is fair to expect his targets to increase with a new signal caller in town.
A’Shawn Robinson injury news and other post-practice comments & notes
Similar to most fans waking up on the west coast Wednesday morning, news of the trade caught Michel by surprise.
#Rams RB Sony Michel says he was surprised he was traded from the Patriots.— Nick Cothrel (@NickCothrel) August 26, 2021
It also seems Michel’s arrival reminds star defensive lineman Aaron Donald of some bad memories from the 2018 Super Bowl. As a rookie, the running back scored the only touchdown in that game.
Reporters to Aaron Donald, "Any particular memory of Sony Michel from the Super Bowl"— TurfShowTimes (@TurfShowTimes) August 26, 2021
AD- " I don't want to talk about it" lol
Head coach Sean McVay also chimed in on the trade news for the first time. Both McVay and general manager Les Snead have complimented Michel’s history of performance in big games. The coach’s comments further support the idea that Darrell Henderson and Michel will work in tandem this season, with young players Jake Funk and Xavier Jones also expected to contribute at times on offense in addition to their roles on special teams.
Sean McVay on Sony Michel:— Andrew Siciliano (@AndrewSiciliano) August 26, 2021
“Wanted to make sure that we got somebody else that’s played in big-time games.”
“Darrell’s still going to have a very big role. Doesn’t really change the outlook for him."
Sean McVay "I've been really pleased with what Jake Funk has been doing over the past few weeks and what he did today as well."— TurfShowTimes (@TurfShowTimes) August 26, 2021
McVay also shared the unfortunate news that veteran defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson has suffered a knee injury and will miss a few weeks. This puts his availability for Week 1 in question, as we are currently two and a half weeks out.
Sean McVay says DL A’Shawn Robinson will be out for a few weeks as he undergoes a minor knee procedure.— Lindsey Thiry (@LindseyThiry) August 26, 2021
It also seems another defensive starter could miss some time due to injury. EDGE Ogbonnia Okoronkwo has been reportedly dealing with a shoulder stinger and the team is continuing to monitor the situation.
OLB Obo Okoronkwo is still experiencing some issues McVay says are related to his shoulder stinger. Unlike yesterday, McVay indicated there could be some cause for concern but said he isn’t ready to escalate his diagnosis of the situation yet.— Jourdan Rodrigue (@JourdanRodrigue) August 26, 2021