Jan 30, 2022; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay celebrates after the NFC Championship game against the San Francisco 49ers at SoFi Stadium. The Rams defeated the 49ers 20-17. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

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Rams alter course, hit UCLA for intense practice

PASADENA, Calif. – The Los Angeles Rams aim to become the second consecutive team to claim the Lombardi Trophy in their home stadium in Super Bowl LVI, but first there was the matter of a road trip.

With wind gusts forecast in the 30-mile-an-hour range at the team’s headquarters at Cal Lutheran University, the Rams trekked 52 miles to conduct Thursday’s practice at the Rose Bowl.

Rams coach Sean McVay sought calmer elements to facilitate significant work on the passing game during the most intense and longest practice of the week.

Mission accomplished: The winds were barely noticeable, measuring at 5 miles per hour in the 84-degree heat.

“No wind,” McVay said. “This is what SoFi (Stadium) will feel like, really. It was great to come out here. Guys had a really good bounce in their step.”

And Matthew Stafford was on fire. The Rams quarterback was extremely sharp throughout the two-hour practice, completing a variety of passes – including deep bullets downfield, intermediate laser throws to the corners, soft touch passes to the flats – with aplomb.

“That’s what we wanted,” McVay said. “What kind of game it ends up being will dictate exactly what plays that we will run. But he did a great job, found a lot of completions, got a lot of guys involved. That’s what we wanted to do.”

McVay also wanted a session that was typical for a Thursday. The Rams donned shoulder pads and either shorts or sweatpants as the players engaged in minimal contact with no tackling.

“This represented the last full-speed practice, with a lot of reps in all types of situations,” McVay said. “Wanted to really see a great, complete practice. Hit a lot of different things. Good urgency.”

It was a spirited session and not just because of the rap music (including an appropriate “Front Row in LA” tune by YFN Lucci) that provided background noise. Players heartily erupted with buzz to fete several impressive individual efforts.

“We’ve got the right kind of guys,” McVay said. “If you can’t get motivated to practice for the final game of the year, I don’t know what to tell you.”

On the injury front, there were no setbacks with running back Darrell Henderson, Jr. (knee) and defensive lineman Sebastian Joseph-Day (pectoral muscle), both of whom McVay expects could be activated from injured reserve. Tackle Joe Noteboom (chest) was a limited participant and McVay considers him questionable for the matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals. Again, tight end Tyler Higbee (knee) did not practice and is doubtful to play.

The Rams will practice at their team headquarters on Friday. McVay calls it “Fast Friday,” largely a walk-through session with a limited number of full-speed plays.

–Field Level Media

(NFC pool report written by Jarrett Bell, USA Today Sports. Distributed by the Pro Football Writers of America).

Field Level Media
Sport Writer & Editor
FLM has a North American focus while tying into regional and hyper-local resources – providing the ability to distribute compelling content through the writing of professional journalists. As the U.S. sports content provider to dozens of digital and print media publishers through strategic partnerships with the likes of Reuters and Nielsen Sports, FLM covers the nuts and bolts with a breaking news desk and game event coverage.

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