Friday, April 14, 2017

The Los Angeles Rams Weekly

Statement From Rams Owner E. Stanley Kroenke on Dan Rooney's Passing
“On behalf of the Los Angeles Rams and our fans, we send our deepest condolences and thoughts to the Rooney family and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Dan Rooney was a well-respected leader and innovator for the National Football League. He dedicated his life to growing all aspects of our game, including diversity and inclusion.  He was an honored dignitary for our nation and he treated everyone he met with respect. His many great contributions will live on for football players and fans everywhere.”
Rams Sign Three Defensive Linemen, Waive Bailey
The Los Angeles Rams made news on the NFL's transactions wire by signing exclusive rights with defensive linemen Matt Longacre and Louis Trinca-Pasat. Additionally, three-year veteran Ethan Westbrookssigned a franchise tender with the club.

The Rams also waived wide receiver Stedman Bailey. The former third round pick out of West Virginia was on the team's non-football injury designation last season recovering from an off-the-field injury.


Rams players are currently taking part in offseason workouts under new head coach Sean McVay.

Rams Exercise Aaron Donald's 5th-Year Option

The Rams have opted to exercise the fifth-year option on defensive tackle Aaron Donald’s contract, keeping him with the club through the 2018 season.

As of the 2011 collective bargaining agreement, NFL teams have the option to add a fifth year to a first-round draft pick’s rookie contract. In a move that’s hardly a surprise, Los Angeles elected to use that tool on its star defensive tackle.

Donald has quickly become one of the league’s elite defenders since being taken No. 13 overall in the 2014 draft. He was named AP Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2014 after setting a franchise rookie record with 9.0 sacks, also earning a trip to the Pro Bowl. Donald has been a Pro Bowl selection in each of his three seasons, and was named a first-team All-Pro for 2015 and 2016.

Since 2014, Donald’s 28.0 sacks lead all defensive tackles. Tampa Bay’s Gerald McCoy is second on the list with 24.0.

Last year, Pro Football Focus named Donald its Defensive Player of the Year, writing, “With ‘only’ eight sacks this season, Aaron Donald’s year flew under the radar somewhat, and while he wasn’t quite as dominant as he was a season ago, the Los Angeles defensive tackle was still by far the most disruptive and impactful defensive lineman in the league, and the best defender in the game. He ended the season with 82 total QB pressures, five more than any other interior defender and tied for second-most in the entire NFL.”

At the NFL Combine in March, general manager Les Snead acknowledged Donald is likely in line for a contract extension, candidly saying the defensive tackle is “probably sitting pretty right now.”

“It’s definitely coming. The guy deserves a raise, there’s no doubt,” Snead said. “Whether he gets a raise or not, he’s going to show up, do the things he does. But that’s coming.”

Donald, Ogletree Ready to Lead Defensive Transition to 3-4

When it comes to the Rams’ new staff and schemes, most of the attention has gone to the offense head coach Sean McVay will implement. But there are changes coming to the defense as well, with coordinator Wade Phillips transitioning the unit to a 3-4 base set.

While having three down linemen and four linebackers in the club’s front seven will be an adjustment, McVay has said the club will remain a one-gap, aggressive, penetrating defense — which is largely what it was under former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. But in a 4-3, the offense knows the four down linemen will pass rush. As Phillips has explained, the difference with his 3-4 is that from play-to-play, offenses don’t know where the fourth pass rusher is coming from.

“It’s a 3-4, but it’s still a nose tackle, it’s still a three technique, and things like that,” defensive tackle Aaron Donald said Monday. “It’s called a 3-4 because, I guess the guys on the side” — outside linebackers — “are standing. But like I said, it’s the same for us. We’re still doing what we’re doing, penetrating, getting up field, and trying to make plays in the backfield.”

When it comes to implementing the scheme, Donald and middle linebacker Alec Ogletree will likely be at the forefront, as last year’s defensive captains. That goes especially for Ogletree as the unit’s signal-caller at middle linebacker.


“I feel a great deal of responsibility,” Ogletree said. “In my first year starting at middle linebacker, that’s what I did — I took pride in getting ahead of the curve and trying to learn as much as I can before the meetings actually took place. I tried to do that this offseason as well, to learn a couple of things here and there before the first day we get here.”

Ogletree also noted how excited he is to get familiar with the scheme, which should give him and fellow linebacker Mark Barron plenty of opportunities to make plays.

“I don’t know a ton about this defense, but I’ve actually played a little bit in college. I guess with Gregg Williams last year, we kind of would interchange as far as 3-4 and 4-3,” Ogletree said. “With this defense, it’s definitely going to open up a lot of guys on the front end to have one-on-one pass rush [and have] me and the other linebacker, Mark, to be in coverage and help rush also.”

Donald also played a bit of 3-4 in college his sophomore year, describing the schemes from then and now as comparable.

“It was a 3-4, but really a 4-3,” Donald said. “I played a little bit of end. I moved around a lot, so I’m used to it.”

The defensive tackle will still be a three-technique in the base set — a position where he’s become arguably the best in the game.

“Same thing, [I’m] still going to be a three technique, and still penetrate, get up field type of guy,” Donald said. “I got to come here during the offseason and go to sit down and talk with [Phillips]. I like his game plan and how he’s going to use us, and the position he’s going to put us in to have success, and try to make plays, and try to win games.”

Could Donald move around on the line like he did in college?

“We’re going to see. I’m comfortable wherever he puts me,” Donald said. “Like I always say, rushing the passer – it doesn’t matter if it’s outside, inside, nose tackle, I can do it. I did it before, so I’m just comfortable wherever he puts me.”

Either way, having the chance to play under a legendary coach like Phillips is exciting for the defense as a whole.

“He’s coached a lot of big time players, and he’s one of the best to do it,” Donald said. “Anytime you go from one great defensive coordinator in Gregg, and then go to another one, it just makes me a better football player.”

Rams Sign CB Nickell Robey-Coleman
Los Angeles has added more depth to its defensive backfield, signing free agent cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman.

Listed at 5-foot-8 and 165 pounds, Robey-Coleman originally signed with the Bills as an undrafted free agent in 2013, made the club’s initial 53-man roster out of training camp, and has been in Buffalo ever since. He’s played in all 64 games for which he’s been eligible, making 15 starts in four seasons. Robey-Coleman’s recorded three interceptions — two in 2016 — and 5.0 sacks in his career. According to Pro Football Focus, Robey-Coleman allowed a passer rating of just 74.86 in the slot, which ranked second among all slot corners in 2016.

Those in Southern California may remember Robey-Coleman from his time at USC, where he starred from 2010-2012. He tallied seven interceptions as Trojan, including four his freshman year, earning All-Pac-10 honorable mention. He recorded a pick six in each of his three years at USC.


The Rams now have Robey-Coleman, Trumaine Johnson, Kayvon Webster, Lamarcus Joyner, E.J. Gaines, Mike Jordan, Blake Countess, and Troy Hill as cornerbacks on their roster. The club’s offseason program begins Monday, April 10.

Rams 2017 Preseason Schedule Announced
For ticket information, visit therams.com/tickets

A year after setting a record with their first game back in Los Angeles, the Rams will kick off their 2017 preseason slate against the same opponent in the Coliseum.

The NFL announced its preseason schedule on Monday afternoon, and the Rams will face the Cowboys in Week 1, head up to Oakland to square off against the Raiders in Week 2, matchup against the Chargers at home in Week 3, and play the Packers in Green Bay for Week 4.

Week 1 - vs. Cowboys
Last year, the Rams and Cowboys set a U.S. preseason attendance record with nearly 90,000 fans welcoming the franchise home to Southern California on a nationally televised game. L.A. won the contest 28-24 in come-from-behind fashion, with quarterback Sean Mannion hitting running back Aaron Green with a go-ahead touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter.

With Dallas’ first couple weeks of training camp in Oxnard — where the Rams held last year’s offseason program — and the Rams at U.C. Irvine, the two clubs will meet in the region’s middle at the Coliseum.

The Rams and Cowboys will also matchup in Dallas during the 2017 regular season.

Week 2 - at Raiders
While the Raiders’ relocation to Las Vegas was approved by NFL owners in March, the club is currently slated to play at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum through 2018. That’s where the Rams will head for a quick trip upstate to play a team that finished 12-4 in 2016, with Derek Carr emerging as one of the most exciting young quarterbacks in the game.

The Rams and Raiders last met in the 2015 preseason, a game also played in Oakland. The Raiders won that matchup 18-3, with wide receiver Amari Cooper impressing in his NFL debut.

The two teams last squared off in the regular season in 2014, when the Rams came away with a 52-0 victory.

Week 3 - vs. Chargers
The first battle between the two L.A. clubs will take place at the Coliseum for the third exhibition.

The third preseason game is the traditional “dress rehearsal” matchup for clubs, and this one will sport two teams with new men at the top. Anthony Lynn has taken over as the Chargers head coach after spending much of last season as the Bills offensive coordinator. While a significant portion of the club’s coaching staff has been retained — including offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt — Lynn has brought in former Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley to implement a new defensive scheme.

The Rams and Chargers last met in the 2014 regular season, when the Chargers came away with a 27-24 victory in San Diego.

Week 4 - at Packers
The Rams will end their preseason slate with a trip to Wisconsin to face the Packers at Lambeau Field. The final exhibition matchup is the only one played with reduced rosters, as teams must cut down to 75 players following Week 3. It’s also traditionally a time for players on the bubble to make a strong final impression with increased playing time before the final roster reduction to 53.

The Rams last faced the Packers in a 2015 regular-season matchup, which Green Bay won at home 24-10.

Preseason Schedule Includes Nationally-Televised Week 3 Game
Rams to host Cowboys, Chargers at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and face Raiders, Packers on the road
 
LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Rams announced today their 2017 preseason schedule, which will kick off at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum with the Dallas Cowboys for the second-consecutive year. The team’s preseason slate also includes road contests in Oakland and Green Bay, and a nationally-televised home game against the Los Angeles Chargers.
 
The Cowboys, Raiders and Packers games will air locally on CBS 2, the home of Rams preseason football in English, and on KMEX Univision 34/KFTR UniMás 46 in Spanish. All Rams games can also be heard in English on ESPN LA 710 AM, with a full simulcast on 100.3 The Sound, and in Spanish on ESPN Deportes 1330AM. Specific dates and times for all of the preseason games will be announced at a later date.
 
“Our entire organization couldn’t be happier to open the preseason with our fans at the Coliseum,” Rams Head Coach SEAN McVAY said. “We play four quality opponents that will help us prepare for the regular season and this announcement is another reminder that we are one step closer to returning to football.”
 
Los Angeles Rams 2017 Preseason Schedule
Week 1 (Aug. 10-12) – Dallas Cowboys
Week 2 (Aug. 17-19) – @Oakland Raiders
Week 3 (Aug. 26, 5 p.m.) – Los Angeles Chargers*
Week 4 (Aug. 31-Sept. 1) – @Green Bay Packers
*CBS nationally-televised game
 
In last year’s preseason opener, the Rams defeated the Cowboys, 28-24, in their first game back in Los Angeles following a 22-year absence. The game was the most attended preseason game ever played on American soil, drawing nearly 90,000 fans. In their 25 all-time preseason games played, the Rams hold a 14-11 advantage.
 
In Week 2, Los Angeles will travel to the East Bay to take on the Oakland Raiders. Their all-time preseason series stands at 12-7 in favor of Oakland. Their last preseason meeting occurred in 2015.
 
CBS will broadcast the Rams’ Week 3 matchup against the Chargers on Saturday, Aug. 26 at 5 p.m. The nationally-televised game marks the first time since 1994 that two Los Angeles teams will face off in preseason action. The Chargers are the Rams’ most frequented preseason opponent, with their all-time series record tied at 18-18. This year’s contest is their first preseason meeting since 2007.
 
The Rams close out their preseason slate with the franchise’s first preseason visit to Lambeau Field. The Rams and Packers previously played five times in preseason action with the Packers leading the series, 3-2. In their most recent preseason matchup, the Packers defeated the Rams, 21-7, in 2014. 
 
For information about Rams season tickets or single-game tickets, fans may visit www.therams.com/tickets. See below for a full listing of the Rams’ Preseason TV Affiliates.

Camp Registration Open Now At TheRams.com/FootballCamps

The Los Angeles Rams, in partnership with Cedars-Sinai, the official health partner of the L.A. Rams, will host 10 youth and high school football camps throughout the Los Angeles region this summer. These non-contact, co-ed camps are designed for elementary, middle and high school students and are open to all positions and skill levels.

Each camp will consist of football instruction at all positions, leadership development programming and the opportunity to compete for prizes.  Rams Legends will be on-site at select sessions to help teach fundamentals and discuss leadership and teamwork.

Participants may register at therams.com/footballcamps for the following opportunities:

· Fundamental Football Camps: Seven high energy camps held across the Los Angeles region for participants entering 2nd – 5th grade this fall. Camps are all-day and feature football instruction at all positions, appearances by current and former Rams players, and the opportunity to compete for prizes. All participants will receive two tickets to a Rams 2017 preseason game, an official Rams Football Camp t-shirt, lunch and more.
Registration Fee: $125
Dates & Location:
o   Saturday, June 17 – Redondo Union High School (Redondo Beach)
o   Wednesday, June 21 – Calabasas High School
o   Friday, June 23 – Culver City High School       
o   Tuesday, June 27 – West Covina High School
o   Wednesday, June 28 – John Muir High School (Pasadena)
o   Thursday, June 29 – Mission Viejo High School
o   Friday, June 30 – Servite High School (Anaheim)

· Junior High Skills Academy:  The Skills Academy will be held at two locations and is open to participants entering 6th – 8th grade this fall.  These camps will feature position specific instruction, appearances by Rams Legends and the opportunity to compete for prizes.  All participants will receive two tickets to a Rams 2017 home preseason game, an official Rams Football Camp t-shirt, lunch and more.
Registration Fee: $150
Dates & Location:
o   Saturday, July 1 – Orange Coast College (Costa Mesa)
o   Saturday, July 15 – Chaminade High School (Canoga Park)

· High School Showcase: A one-day event for high school student-athletes entering 9th – 12th grade this fall. The showcase features drills similar to the NFL Scouting Combine where participants will have the opportunity to display their speed, agility, strength and mental toughness. Verified testing will be conducted by The Sports Academy. The showcase also includes a leadership development session for all participants.
Registration Fee: $150
Dates & Location:
o   Saturday, June 24 – Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum

A satirical look at more than 75 years of Football's Rams history, combined with discussions of American Exceptionalism and almost 50 years of personal experience in the life of a Rams Fan. The history parallels and intertwines life to form a humorous, yet serious look at American HistoryWorld History, an American Football team, and Political Science.