Scrimmage and Training Continues for Rams
September 3, 2020
As the Rams prepare for the start of the 2020 NFL Season, fourth-year head coach Sean McVay fields multiple questions from the media practically everyday. A football junkie since his youth, he has a quick mind and tries to answer each question commensurate with the respect they deserve. Most of the questions are relevant to the game, practice or situation at hand while a few are shots in the dark.
On Monday, McVay was direct about a questionable report of wide receiver Cooper Kupp being injured: "That report is inaccurate. He does not have an ankle sprain. He had had some soreness in his lower leg that had been going on for the last couple of days. There was a specific play in which he communicated that he was feeling it, so we wanted to be cautious with him. An X-ray of his leg during the scrimmage... there was nothing on that."
"We are going to monitor him, but he's feeling good. There was no injury to report. It was more of just, 'Hey, the goal is to make sure he's as healthy as possible for the 13th. So, when I was communicating to you guys, the information I had gotten, is exactly what I communicated."
With the Dallas Cowboys coming to town for the Inaugural Opening of SoFi Stadium on Sunday, September 13, Mcvay was asked if the team was in training camp or game preparation mode. "It's a little bit of both, and really it's not even necessarily you're getting into your Dallas preparation. But what we are is we still want to compete, push one another, but maybe work on some different looks that we don't get from our offense or from our defense."
"We've got a couple of extra days where you want to be mindful but you don't want it to feel like you're preparing for the Cowboys forever, but I think you'll see that truly reflected on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, those kind of extra days that we'll have. To really answer your question, true camp, you can look at it as ending on Thursday."
There was a question about the clarity between the three kickers in camp hoping to land the job formerly held by Greg Zuerlein. Coincidentally 'Mr. Reliable' will be on the opposing sideline for the season opener, kicking for the Cowboys. Zuerlein spent his first eight years in the league in a Ram uniform, four years in St. Louis and the last four in Los Angeles.
2020 7th-Round pick Sam Sloman from the University of Miami, Austin MacGinnis, a 2-year veteran from the AAF and XFL football leagues and Lirim Hajrullahu, a 6-year veteran from the Canadian Football League. MacGinnis and Hajrullahu both signed a contract with the Rams on April 13. The head-to-head-to-head competition was very competitive during the Rams second scrimmage at SoFi Stadium last Saturday.
McVay addressed his evaluation soon after at SoFi: "It does make it difficult. But that's why we give them a lot. But that's why you see a lot more field goals in these settings than typically you would see, where you end up getting 24 total kicks and try to create some form of a competition for these guys."
"That's a huge important part of our football team moving forward this year. And we're going to make sure we take every opportunity to evaluate them, try to create a competitive situation to see how they handle it. And then be able to make a decision for the Dallas game."
Safety Taylor Rapp, who practiced on Tuesday after recovering from a recent knee injury, was a topic on Wednesday. "He did great. It was good to be able to have him out there. He was excited, he looked comfortable. He said he felt good. So, it was great to be able to get Taylor back out there yesterday." When asked if Rapp will be ready for the Cowboys: "Oh yeah, he'll be ready... He'll be ready to go for Dallas."
Cornerback Jalen Ramsey relishing the use of McVay using the corners in run support came up: "Yeah, it's huge. I think the best defense is all-eleven tackle, on the best defenses. He (Ramsey) can do everything. He can play man-to-man, he can play off-zone with vision to the quarterback, he can play different coverage contours, he can come up and tackle, he's got great ball skills. So, there's nothing this guy can't do and that physical run support or if he's a crack replace corner dependent upon the coverage we're playing."
"it's something that's a winning edge for your defense, because these offenses are too good now, that there's going to be some times that when receivers take out a safety, that corner's got to be able to come up and tackle and Jalen is as physical of a corner as you'll find and that's why he's so special. One of the many reasons he's so special."
Answering a final question about game-planning for the SoFi Inaugural Opener, McVay responded: "You've got Coach (Mike) McCarthy (Dallas head coach) and Kellen Moore (Dallas offensive coordinator) collaborating with the offense and so it's about playing good football. But you don't have a whole lot of stuff to go off of, especially with Coach (Mike) Nolan (Dallas Defensive Coordinator)."
"But, all those guys have had significant opportunities and lead roles and you use that as a guide, but you also want to make sure it's about putting together a good plan that's around your guys' best strengths and not necessarily focusing too much on stuff where you don't have as much inventory as you're accustomed to."