Rams Prepare for 2020 Season
Team Begins Camp in Thousand Oaks
August 6, 2020
The Los Angeles Rams have finally and officially opened their 2020 Training Camp at their facility located at Cal Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks. With the current Covid-19 health policies in place, players, coaches and staff will have a two-week isolated acclimation period to prepare and train. The media will be allowed to physically cover the final two weeks of camp beginning Tuesday, August 17.
Having missed the playoffs while finishing third in the NFC West with a 9-7 last season, one year after making it to the Super Bowl, the Rams are looking to rebound for the first time since head coach Sean McVay took over the reigns in 2017. He and team General Manager made a number of off-season moves in order to re-establish the previous two years of success.
Earlier this year the Rams released wide receiver and return specialist JoJo Natson. They did not exercise their option on defensive back Nickell Robey-Coleman. On March 19, they really shook up the lineup by releasing All-Pro running back Todd Gurley and linebacker Clay Matthews. In April, they traded wide receiver Brandin Cooks to the Houston Oilers.
Before the NFL Draft, Cooks and an undisclosed 4th-round selection was sent to the Oilers for their No. 57 pick overall. The Rams also traded their 120th overall pick to Houston for the Oilers' No. 136, No. 248 and No. 250 picks. That gave the Rams nine overall draft picks for the 2020 Draft.
They also dodged a big bullet when defensive tackle Michael Brockers, a solid starter with the Rams since his rookie season in 2012, signed a 3-year, $30 million contract with the Baltimore Ravens that was voided because of concerns with the health of his ankle. The Rams then immediately re-signed Brockers to a three-year, $24 million deal with another $7.5 million available in incentives.
"I know our players and coaches are kind of just chomping at the bit to even get our players in here at any capacity where we can meet with them in person, we can do walk-thru's," said McVay. "And then the other stuff is just restricted to strength and conditioning on the field and then in the weight room with our guys. Anything is better than nothing."
General Manager Les Snead spoke about assessing the players: "Obviously, we're missing a chunk of the evaluation process, which is usually 15 to 120 plays of players who are on the bubble, could get cut, and eventually do get cut. And at the part you're missing really is, the developmental part that takes place at the end of the season and then comes to fruition on the field during preseasons."
The Rams hope to get enough support from the 2020 Draft to shore up the team's three phases. They drafted running back Cam Akers out of Florida State in the Second Round at No. 52 as their first overall pick while wide receiver Van Jefferson, Florida, was also selected in the Second Round at No. 57. The team followed up with OLB Terrell Lewis, Alabama, and safety Terrell Burgess, Utah, in the Third Round.
Tight end Bryecen Hopkins, Purdue, was selected in the Fourth Round and safety Jordan Fuller, Ohio State, was chosen in the Sixth Round. Linebacker Clay Johnston, Baylor, kicker Samuel Sloman, Miami (Ohio) and offensive lineman Tremayne Anchrum out of Clemson were selected in Round Seven to round out the draft.
"I think what us and most teams will do, is they'll be some type of blend between how we evaluated that player coming out for the draft, and then also you can also take in the evaluation of past snaps," said Snead.
The Rams currently have 80 active players from their roster in camp. Originally last Friday, July 31, defensive lineman Michael Hoecht and outside linebacker Terrell Lewis were placed on the Covid/IR list. However, Hoecht was activated and added to the 53-man roster on Sunday.
The team also announced that offensive lineman Chandler Brewer opted out of the 2020 NFL season. Brewer, who played seven game for the Rams last season is a cancer survivor and posted a statement: "With my history with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, I am at high risk and will opt out of playing in the NFL this season. I would like to thank the Rams for their support and I look forward to getting back on the field in 2021 and beyond."
The Rams will also have to deal another season of Hand Knocks, produced by NFL Films and HBO, as it returns once again to document this year's training camp. The Los Angeles Chargers, training in Costa Mesa, will also be featured in it's own edition of Hard Knocks this summer. With limitations implemented due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the productions expect to be less imposing to the players, staff and team personnel this time around.
"It's good. It's fun. It's a much different vibe, obviously, this time around," said quarterback Jared Goff. "And this year, it feels like they're in the background a little bit. It's probably a testament to our team, the way we're focused, and focused on the right things and being really dialed in on football."
"It's because they are not allowed in the building, we have a little bit of a buffer there," laughed Goff. "But no it's been good. They've been really good with us, and really good with everyone. I think it'll be a different experience I think this time for everyone hopefully." With the uncertainty of the current Covid-19 situation dictating training terms and conditions, Rams Training Camp 2020 will definitely be must-see streaming T.V.