Rams training camp, Day 4: SoFi Stadium takes center stage
Eric D. Williams
Inglewood, Calif. -- A recap of Saturday’s practice at Rams training camp:
PLAYER OF THE DAY
This new SoFi Stadium is pretty ridiculous. The Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers new palace has a lot of structural similarities to the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium if you’ve been there before, but the translucent roof and open air at the end zones gives it a breezy, L.A. feel.
I'm not usually a fan of artificial turf, but the field looks great, and most seats appear to have good sight lines. Rams and Chargers’ fans should not have to worry about getting sun baked at their seats anymore. Hopefully, fans can experience the stadium for themselves at some point this season.
And you can’t miss the Oculus video board. It’s a very comfortable place to watch a game.
PLAY OF THE DAY
Okay, let’s talk about the play on the field. Backup quarterback John Wolford had a day. His 40-yard scramble was the most impressive play in the scrimmage. Wolford also threw two touchdowns, a 3-yarder to Nsimba Webster and a 7-yarder on an out route to Van Jefferson.
The Wake Forest product showed good poise in leading his team, using his feet to escape trouble when he felt pressure.
Head coaches usually like backup quarterbacks with good movement skills because if they are in the game, it’s likely not an ideal circumstance because there have been injuries up front or other areas of the offense, or your starter has played poorly.
Wolford played solid, easing some concerns if Jared Goff should get hurt that he could come in and lead the team in a pinch.
“I’ll tell you what, John Wolford made a lot of plays today,” McVay said. “It’s always hard because you can’t tackle the quarterbacks, but you see him running around and he’s got some Doug Flutie-type stuff to him as far as being able to break contain and make some plays off schedule. I thought he had a really nice night.”
MATCHUP OF THE DAY
While the second team offense put two touchdowns on the board, the first team offense guided by Goff struggled to move the football, failing to get into the end zone. Goff also threw an interception to safety Nick Scott and was sacked on the last offensive play of the game.
Goff looked rusty early, then got into the flow of the game and made some solid throws on the final two drives. The Rams ran the football okay, but overall just never seemed to get into a rhythm.
McVay chalked up his team's struggles on offense to a chaotic headset communication situation that needs to be resolved, along with a focus on situational football. McVay also said the plan was to work on short passing game and not push the ball down the field.
“I think we had a lot of drives that were good, and some that were not so good,” Goff said. “Frankly, it was just a lot of mental errors, a lot of stuff operationally that was not great. And ultimately, it starts with me, and we have got to get it fixed. And we will. We have a few weeks to get it fixed, and hopefully we do starting tomorrow.”
Aaron Donald did Aaron Donald things. He forced rookie Cam Akers to fumble, with safety John Johnson recovering. And he also forced his way to the quarterback for conservatively at least five sacks.
The Pittsburgh product even spent a decent amount of time at defensive end during the scrimmage, generating consistent pressure off the edge.
“It’ challenging to go against Aaron Donald in any capacity,” McVay said. “In the walk-throughs this guy show up. He is the best in the world at what he does, and he is continuing to get better.”
Running back Darrell Henderson Jr. suffered what appeared to be a leg injury early in the scrimmage, and had to limp off the field. That’s bad news for the Memphis product, who was limited due to injuries during his rookie season last year.
McVay said Henderson has a soft tissue injury, but offered nothing specific as to when he might be back on the field. McVay said that his team suffered no other injuries that he knows of.
In the kicking competition, CFL product Lirim Hajrullahu appeared to take the lead. He was good from 38 yards twice, 43 yards, 48 yards and 50 yards. Austin MaGinnis finished 4-of-5, missing from 43 yards. And rookie, seventh-round selection Samuel Sloman finished 3-of-5, missing wide left from 38 and 50 yards.
YOU DON’T SAY
“This is something spectacular. I’ve never seen anything like it. I thought it was really special, just watching the players’ reactions to how magnificent this is when we got here. They could envision themselves playing here on Sunday, Sept. 13 against the Cowboys. It’s going to be pretty special. It’s a real credit to Mr. Kroenke, when you look at the amount of time and the vision that he had, the passion. This is something that is truly reflective of an unbelievable deal you feel fortunate to be a part of.”” – McVay on playing at SoFi Stadium for the first time.