Rams QB Jared Goff Gets Surprise Heli Ride Over Future Football Stadium

L.A. Rams QB Jared Goff had yet to set eyes on the Inglewood, Calif. spot where a new stadium is being built for the team – until now. Actor and director Michael Rapaport swooped in on a startled Goff while at a workout session, and proceeded to take him on a stunning aerial tour of LA that also included an eye-opening journey over fellow quarterback Tom Brady’s place.

“That’s where we’re going to be chilling, man,” Rappaport said to Goff. “It’s you, me…we kick Tom Brady out.”

There were also a few scary moments for Goff, who had this to say to the heli operator:

“I feel like we’re going to hit these rocks.”

“I need you to get off your phone.”

“Going a little low over this mountain here, my guy.”

After a comedic view of Rapaport’s house, the unexpected expedition ended with a birds-eye view of the new $2.6 billion stadium that will be completed in time for the 2020 NFL season.

“This is my first time seeing it,” Goff told redbull.com. “This might be the coolest thing I’ve ever done.”

Rams DT Aaron Donald Not Feeling Good About Holdout Says Teammate Michael Brockers

(AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)

Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald is holding out of camp for a new contract but it doesn’t mean he’s feeling good about it, Rich Hammond of the Orange County Register reports.

“Oh yeah, it’s killing him right now,” fellow defensive lineman Michael Brockers said after Sunday’s camp practice at UC Irvine. “I know it is. He cannot wait until this contract thing is over. … You text him just to check in, and he lets us know that he’s still working and stuff like that. We know he’s not letting off in any way. We know he’s going to come back in shape and be the same Aaron he was before.”

Coach Sean McVay has emphasized this week that the Rams are working to get a deal done with Donald and that, while he’s out, other defensive linemen are improving. That’s true, but none of them are Donald.

There’s no replacing a three-time Pro Bowl selection who has 28 sacks in 48 NFL games. In the Rams’ new 3-4 scheme, Dominique Easley and Ethan Westbrooks have been lining up alongside Brockers, but as the Aug. 12 preseason opener draws near, Donald isn’t getting repetitions in the new defense.

At some point, the Rams need Donald, as they need to learn how to work around the defense’s most dominant force. But the Rams seem convinced that when Donald does return, it will be a seamless fit.

“Mostly you miss his personality, having him around,” Brockers said. “You know what he’s going to do on the field, so you know what you’re getting when he gets back. You just miss his personality during some of these hard practices, where he might make a joke or jump on your back, something to pick us up. That’s what people don’t realize. He brings a lot of personality to the defensive line as well.”

Teammates have been supportive of Donald’s absence. A fan brought a sign to practice with a picture of Donald and the words “pay the man,” and linebacker Robert Quinn signed it.

Brockers is no stranger to this. Last September, a week into the season, Brockers signed a three-year, $33.1 million contract. Brockers had entered the final year of his contract, and while Donald still has two years remaining on his current deal, Brockers said teammates want to see Donald get paid.

“It’s hard to not do that when a guy has put in so much work,” Brockers said. “He has worked so hard and been tremendous for this team. It’s hard not to want that for him. So yeah, we’re right with him and we support him. We’re just waiting for him to get back.”

Rams QB Jared Goff Adds 10 Pounds to His Frame This Offseason

Rams quarterback Jared Goff likes to say that he has gained 10 pounds for every year of his life. Heading into his second season in the NFL, the 22-year-old is carrying about 220 pounds on him — 10 more than he did as a rookie, Alden Gonzalez of ESPN.com reports.

“I hope it slows down at about 23, 24,” Goff said with a smile. “I think I’ve been doing a good job just trying to continue to get strong and just continue to work as hard as I can.”

The Los Angeles Rams’ official website lists Goff at 6-foot-4 and 223 pounds after listing him at 215 last year. After entering the NFL with a relatively slight frame, Goff absorbed 25 sacks over his final six games — far more than anybody else during that stretch — and bulked up. Goff said the added weight was merely a byproduct of his continued physical growth, not a reaction to anything that occurred last season. Still, the extra pounds should only help.

Goff remembers the extra weight he put on entering his sophomore season at Cal, and how much better it made him.

“I felt it in the pocket,” Goff said, speaking after the Rams’ minicamp practice on Tuesday. “The ability to make one guy miss is a big deal, and the ability to not get tackled by just a hand, just a guy grabbing your jersey, is a big deal. I think that’s where it helped the most.”

“It’s always important to be able to sustain some of the hits,” Rams coach Sean McVay said. “You still want to make sure that you’re fluid and flexible. I think that weight, when you’re thinking about some of the throws that you have to make in the face of a pass rush, and where you have to absorb those hits — I think it just allows you to be a little bit sturdier. I think you want to put it on the right way.”

Rams DT Aaron Donald Reports to Mandatory Minicamp Despite No New Deal

Aaron Donald does not yet have a new contract, but the defensive tackle is no longer staying away from the Los Angeles Rams’ facility, Kevin Patra of NFL.com reports.

NFL Network’s Steve Wyche reported Tuesday that Donald reported for mandatory minicamp, according to a team spokesman.

Donald has stayed away from voluntary offseason workouts before this week.

NFL Network’s Omar Ruiz, who is in attendance at Rams practice, reported Donald is doing individual work off to the side.

Donald is set to earn just $1.8 million in 2017 under his rookie contract. The Rams exercised the fifth-year team option to keep him in L.A. in 2018. Both sides hope a deal is done well before then.

General manager Les Snead has consistently said this offseason that Donald deserves a hefty raise. Snead said in May contract talks are in a “serious” stage.

Rams CB Troy Hill Handed Two-Game Suspension for Violating the NFL’s Substance Abuse Policy

Rams backup cornerback Troy Hill has been suspended without pay for the first two games of the 2017 regular season for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy, Alden Gonzalez of ESPN.com reports.

Hill won’t be eligible to return to the active roster until Sept. 18, following the Rams’ Week 2 home game against the Washington Redskins. But he can participate in all offseason and preseason practices and games until then.

That suspension probably stems from Hill’s DUI arrest the Saturday morning before the Rams’ Nov. 20 home game against the Miami Dolphins. The Rams made him inactive for that game, then later stashed him on their practice squad and didn’t activate him again until the middle of December.

During the incident, Hill was driving on an L.A. freeway at around 8 a.m. PT when his Mercedes swerved over multiple lanes and crashed into the back of a semi truck. Hill, who suffered a busted lip during the crash, was given a field sobriety test and arrested on the spot.

An undrafted free agent in 2015, Hill initially signed with the Bengals and played in spurts for the Rams last season, starting four games.

A Rundown of All the Los Angeles Rams 2017 NFL Draft Picks

Sports Illustrated has a complete rundown of all of the Rams 2017 Draft Picks and some commentary as well.

Round 2, Pick 12 (No. 44 overall)

Gerald Everett, TE, South Alabama: The Rams throw a curve ball with their first pick of the 2017 draft, taking Everett, a player cut from the same TE/slot receiver mold as Evan Engram. This comes one year after L.A. nabbed TE Tyler Higbee in the fourth round. Everett has upside as a pass catcher, but this is early for him and there were a lot of defensive options on the board. GRADE: D+

Round 3, Pick 5 (No. 69)

Cooper Kupp, WR, Eastern Washington: This is another good one in terms of value, but confusing in terms of team fit. Kupp is a polished receiver capable of handling a heavy workload. He’ll have to prove he can live outside, though, and the Rams just used a Round 2 pick on a slot-type TE in Gerald Everett.? GRADE: B–

Round 3, Pick 27 (No. 91)

John Johnson, S, Boston College: Kind of a perfect mid-to-late Round 3 pick. Johnson has obvious bright spots in his game, including his ability to mix and match coverages. He’s also got a long way to go before he’s a complete product. Wade Phillips is a great defensive coordinator if a player needs development, though, and Johnson’s movable skills will give Phillips some options. GRADE: A–

Round 4, Pick 10 (No. 117) Josh Reynolds, WR, Texas A&M

Round 4, Pick 19 (No. 125) Samson Ebukam, OLB, Eastern Washington

Round 6, Pick 5 (No. 189) Tanzel Smart, DT, Tulane

Round 6, Pick 22 (No. 206) Sam Rogers, FB, Virginia Tech

Round 7, Pick 16 (No. 234) Ejuan Price, DE, Pittsburgh

A Look at the 2017 Rams Schedule with a Glance at the Good and the Bad

The 2017 NFL Schedule is out, and here’s a look at the Rams slate for the upcoming season, with the home games in bold:

Sep. 10 Indianapolis Colts 1:05 PM

Sep. 17 Washington Redskins 1:25 PM

Sep. 21 at San Francisco 49ers (Thu) 5:25 PM

Oct. 1 at Dallas Cowboys 10:00 AM

Oct. 8 Seattle Seahawks 1:05 PM

Oct. 15 at Jacksonville Jaguars 1:05 PM

Oct. 22 Arizona Cardinals (London) 10:00 AM

Oct. 29 BYE

Nov. 5 at New York Giants 10:00 AM

Nov. 12 Houston Texans 1:05 PM

Nov. 19 at Minnesota Vikings 10:00 AM

Nov. 26 New Orleans Saints 1:05 PM

Dec. 3 at Arizona Cardinals 1:25 PM

Dec. 10 Philadelphia Eagles 1:25 PM

Dec. 17 at Seattle Seahawks 1:05 PM

Dec. 24 at Tennessee Titans 10:00 AM

Dec. 31 San Francisco 49ers 1:25 PM

What’s Good about this Schedule: The Rams have a shot to get off to a quick start with two home games to start 2017 against the Colts and Redskins before two straight road games.

What’s Bad about this Schedule: Three rough games against three good defensive teams on November 5th, 12th and 19th, as they play at the Giants, home for the Texans and at the Vikings.

Becoming Fundamentally Sound

Rams ownership almost always portrays itself as an organization that wants to win.  It says winning is important.  It says all the right things.  “We’re going to put a lot of money into the defensive line.”  Or  “We’re going to draft a top SEC running back” Or “We’re going to go out and get a franchise quarterback.”  And they do.  They’re really good at picking up pieces, but tying those pieces together and making fundamentally sound supporting moves is not in their wheel house.

Back in 2009 Rams Nation was excited about the arrival of new head coach Steve Spagnuolo.  He came from the 2008 Super Bowl winning NY Giants with a long history of being a tough defensive coordinator.  Rams ownership again decreed its commitment to winning and paired the new head coach with Offensive Coordinator Pat Shurmur.  The Rams brought in some roster talent (OT Jason Smith, LB James Laurinaitis, and DT Dorell Scott) and the fan base sighed a deep sigh of relief.  But over the next 3 years the Rams complete what would be the worst 5 year stretch in NFL history.  What did we miss?

The problem was the pairing of a first year head coach (defensive background) with a first year offensive coordinator who had never called plays before.  A recipe for disaster which I called out at the time.  I genuinely believe the Rams made that move fully understanding the fundamental flaw.  (A little conspiracy theory?  Not really.  Football is a business and not all decisions are grounded in the concept of winning.  But that’s an entirely different article.)

For now let’s just say the Rams have learned their lesson.  This year they’ve paired a young offensive juggernaut in head coach Sean McVay with a seasoned defensive stalwart like Wade Phillips.  Unfortunately, I’m worried the Rams are about to make a different, but equally devastating fundamental flaw.  Again, I’m not completely opposed to the pieces; just worried about their arrangement.  The Rams have high expectations for 2nd year QB Jared Goff, but I hear nothing in free agency or draft news about comprehensive moves to make him successful.  There are 3 elements required to have a successful passing game: 1 you must have a solid offensive line, 2 you must be able to spread the field, and 3 you must have a strong running game so your offense doesn’t become one dimensional.  The Rams are constantly working on their O-line and they’re at least aware of the need for speedster wide receivers (the Rams just signed veteran WR Robert Woods).

Last year the Rams had a trio of high potential running backs: Tre Mason, Benny Cunningham and Todd Gurley.  Two of the 3 are gone (Gurley remains) and there is absolutely no conversation regarding their replacements.  My guess?  We’ll settle for a couple last minute pick ups of career second stringers.  That kind of move is right out of the Rams standard operating procedures (when they’re not picking up players from other team’s practice squad).

The Rams need to stop looking at pieces.  I firmly believe if the Rams don’t pull off a couple miracle trades for productive running backs, then Jared Goff will not have a successful second-year season.  Optimistically, we’d be looking at another 6-10 season or worse if this structural gap is not addressed.  Good teams understand their strengths and weaknesses and how to live with them.  The Rams annually add new pieces, but somehow are unable to understand how a successful NFL team functions as a whole.