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Bonsignore: Rams add some new toys for quarterback Jared Goff, Coach Sean McVay

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  • Bonsignore: Rams add some new toys for quarterback Jared Goff, Coach Sean McVay

    Bonsignore: Rams add some new toys for quarterback Jared Goff, Coach Sean McVay
    By VINCENT BONSIGNORE | vbonsignore@scng.com | Daily News
    PUBLISHED: April 28, 2017 at 9:24 pm | UPDATED: April 28, 2017 at 10:56 pm

    As days turned into weeks and weeks into months leading up to the draft, a profile of sorts was being built on new coach Sean McVay inside Rams headquarters.

    And a key trait soon emerged. McVay, those working closely with him explained, had a unique ability to articulate exactly what he was looking for in players to fit his offensive scheme.

    Sounds pretty routine. Almost like it should be a prerequisite.

    But like anything, some people are just better at certain things than others.

    And in McVay’s case, his ability to communicate needs and skill sets in a concise, palatable way has quickly become a valued asset.

    So you can imagine the compelling argument he must have made as the draft action finally turned the Rams way Thursday.

    Although anyone who watched the Rams offense stink up the Coliseum last year could have pretty much articulated the same exact thing.

    As in, how about a sure-handed wide receiver who runs precise routes in order to end up exactly where he’s supposed to be when he’s supposed to be there and can consistently hang onto the ball when targeted?

    And throw in a big, fast, explosive target who can pose match up problems against slot cornerbacks or linebackers or safeties. Be it down field or in the red zone.

    No offense to McVay, but we all saw the same thing.

    Ask and you shall receive, though.

    The Rams addressed two of their biggest needs on their first two picks Friday, and McVay now has two explosive, productive toys to work with in the revamped offense he’s building.

    And in a few weeks, he’ll turn South Alabama tight end Gerald Everett and highly productive Eastern Washington wide receiver Cooper Kupp off to second-year quarterback Jared Goff, who has to be smiling right about now knowing the Rams off-season is yielding some much needed protection and weaponry.

    And just as importantly, dependability.

    Kupp isn’t the fastest wide receiver and he played in the FCS level Big Sky Conference, so he’ll face a whole other level of competition jumping to the NFL and must prove he’s capable of making the jump.

    But he’s one of the cleanest route runners in the draft, and no matter who he lined up against at Eastern Washington he managed to light up the opposing defense.

    And that includes Pac-12 competition, for whom he saved some of his biggest performances.

    In four games against the Pac-12 – Washington State, Washington, Oregon and Oregon State – he dominated with 40 catches for 716 yards and 11 touchdowns. That’s an average of 17.9 yards per catch and a touchdown every 3.9 times he caught a ball.

    Small school or not, Cooper didn’t sound much like a guy who is going to ease into things.

    “I think I bring versatility. A guy that’s going to know the offense inside and out. A guy that’s going to be ready to go day one,” he said. “I pride myself on that, on learning the offense – I know exactly what I need to be a guy that can be reliable and be able to get first downs. The ability to create in multiple different ways, play wherever you need me to play. I think that’s something that I bring that a lot of receivers can’t.”

    As for Everett, another small-school product, he finished last season with 49 catches for 717 yards and four touchdowns. The 6-foot-4, 230-pounder profiles as a Jason Reed type tight end. And if the name sounds familiar, keep in mind that’s the same guy McVay helped turn into a Pro Bowl player in Washington as the Redskins offensive coordinator the last three years.

    Tight end is a staple in McVay’s West Coast-based offensive scheme, and he isn’t shy about utilizing two at the same time. So if you’re wondering what this means for Tyler Higbee, the Rams’ second-year tight end, the objective is for Higbee and Everett to complement each other rather than supplant one another.

    Last year in Washington, Reed and fellow tight end Vernon Davis combined for 110 catches for 1,269 yards and eight touchdowns. McVay immediately locked in on Everett during the Rams draft evaluations. A message that was clear to Rams general manager Les Snead.

    “I can tell you, through this process, and you’ve gotten to know Sean and what his scheme requires..I have a feeling Gerald was one of Sean’s favorite players,” Snead said.

    Everett has drawn comparisons to Reed. But also to Chargers All-Pro tight end Antonio Gates who, like Everett, has a strong basketball background.

    The hoops asset is one Everett believes is a difference-maker.

    “Just having that explosiveness – being able to high-point the football, being able to burst in and out of my routes, being able to step outside of my frame and my route running,” he said. “I think that’s definitely just a vital point for me as a receiving tight end and that’s definitely something I’m going to bring to the Rams organization to help them win games.”

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  • Nick
    McVay: Rams' 2nd- and 3rd-round picks 'exactly what we wanted'
    by Nick
    McVay: Rams' 2nd- and 3rd-round picks 'exactly what we wanted'
    9:15 AM ET
    Alden Gonzalez
    ESPN Staff Writer

    The Los Angeles Rams turned two picks into three on Friday. They addressed their most glaring needs, at tight end, receiver and safety. And shortly after they were finished, new head coach Sean McVay was saying that Gerald Everett, Cooper Kupp and John Johnson represented "kind of exactly what we wanted to come out of tonight with."

    "We know we got better at three spots," McVay told local reporters from the Rams' facility late Friday night, moments after the second and third round came to an end. "Those are high-character guys that will get us better."

    The Rams sat out Thursday's first round for the first time since 1987, a product of the 2016 trade that allowed them to draft Jared Goff first overall -- and then they went about getting Goff more weapons.

    When they were finally on the clock with the 37th overall pick, receiver Zay Jones and guard Forrest Lamp -- two players heavily linked to the Rams heading in -- remained on the board. Instead, the Rams traded down with the Bills for the 44th spot, netting an additional third-round pick in the process. Then they selected Everett, an explosive, 6-foot-3, 239-pound pass-catching tight end out of South Alabama who can help stretch the field.

    "I have a feeling that Gerald's one of Sean's favorite players in the draft," Rams general manager Les Snead said, and that shouldn't surprise anyone who paid attention to last year's Redskins.

    With McVay as offensive coordinator, those Redskins led the NFL in yards by tight ends. He needed more help at that position for the Rams, especially after cutting ties with veteran Lance Kendricks. So Everett became the third tight end drafted by the Rams in 12 months, joining Tyler Higbee and Temarrick Hemingway. The Rams' new coaches are seemingly high on all three of them, enough so that McVay even talked about running 13-personnel packages that involve one running back, one receiver and three tight ends.

    Everett, who didn't get serious about football until his senior year of high school, believes he brings "the complete package of a tight end."

    "Definitely a vertical threat first," he said, "but also being a willing blocker in the run game. Just being able to create that mismatch at any point of time in the game."

    With the 69th overall pick in the third round, the Rams took Kupp, a sure-handed -- though not physically overwhelming -- slot receiver out of Eastern Washington who finished his collegiate career with 15 FCS records. Twenty-two slots after that came Johnson, who excelled as both a free safety and a slot corner at Boston College. Johnson will join the Rams as a safety, but can also be an asset as a special-teams gunner and will provide immediate depth...
    -04-29-2017, 08:48 AM
  • Nick
    Two drafts, seven new weapons for Rams QB Jared Goff: How will it work?
    by Nick
    Two drafts, seven new weapons for Rams QB Jared Goff: How will it work?
    May 2, 2017
    Alden Gonzalez
    ESPN Staff Writer

    Three of the Los Angeles Rams' first four selections in this year's draft represented new weapons for developing franchise quarterback Jared Goff. They all played in the Senior Bowl, they all got passed up by the major programs coming out of high school, and they all were taken a little bit higher than most projected.

    That's pretty much where the comparisons end.

    South Alabama's Gerald Everett, taken 44th overall, is a big, athletic, somewhat raw "move" tight end who can be a major threat up the middle of the field. Eastern Washington's Cooper Kupp, drafted 69th overall, is a polished possession receiver with soft hands who operates best out of the slot. Texas A&M's Josh Reynolds, selected 117th overall, is a long-striding outside threat with great leaping ability but limited play strength.

    When the Rams took Reynolds with the 10th pick in the fourth round, it marked the seventh wide receiver or tight end they had selected within a stretch of nine picks, following Goff going No. 1 overall in 2016. The new trio came one year after the Rams drafted Tyler Higbee, who brings a similar skill set to Everett, Pharoh Cooper, who, like Kupp, profiles best as a slot receiver, and Mike Thomas, another outside threat who, like Reynolds, is a good leaper. Temarrick Hemingway, yet another pass-catching tight end, also was nabbed in 2016.

    "The theme," coach Sean McVay said, "is you want to find as many playmakers that can create with the ball in their hands."

    This draft, more than anything else, was McVay putting his imprint on his first offense as an NFL head coach.

    Now comes the toughest part -- making it all work.

    At the top of the list of receivers sit a couple of veterans. One is Tavon Austin, who signed a four-year, $42 million extension last August. The other is Robert Woods, who signed a five-year, $34 million contract this March. Woods, listed at 6-foot, excels at creating separation at the top of his routes and will be the prime target in the Rams' intermediate passing game. Austin, 5-foot-8, has so far been used -- ineffectively, many would say -- as something of a gimmick receiver. Over the past three years, he has carried the ball 116 times (nearly three times more than any other receiver) and has caught 75 passes behind the line of scrimmage (tied for second among receivers).

    The Rams want Austin to establish himself as more of a downfield threat, similar to what DeSean Jackson was in Washington. Woods, meanwhile, can be McVay's new Pierre Garcon. Everett, he hopes, can be Jordan Reed. And everybody else will fill in where they can.

    The Rams' depth chart at receiver seemingly looks like this ...

    1. Austin

    2. Woods

    3....
    -05-05-2017, 01:46 PM
  • Nick
    McVay: “This Loss is On Me"
    by Nick
    McVay: “This Loss is On Me"
    Myles Simmons
    RAMS INSIDER

    CHICAGO — This was not the Rams night.

    This was a night where Los Angeles had only 214 yards of offense. Only 14 first downs. Only six points.

    A night where quarterback Jared Goff threw four interceptions, setting an ignominious single-game career high. Prior to this night, he’d only ever thrown at most two picks in a game as a pro.

    And this was also a night where head coach Sean McVay took responsibility for all of it.

    “I’ve got to be better for our football team, but this loss is on me,” McVay said postgame. “I didn’t do nearly a good enough job for us today and I trust that we’ll respond the right way.”

    This is something McVay has done for each of the Rams’ regular-season losses since he took over as head coach last year. But this was as self-critical as McVay has ever been — likely because this was as ineffective as the offense has been in his tenure.

    “I’ll tell you this, when I’m looking at it in terms of some of the intent, what we were trying to do with a lot of things, I know this — I did not put our guys in good spots and that’s something that I have to better within the framework of my role and what I can control,” McVay said.

    Indeed, this is the only time since the start of the 2017 season that Los Angeles has failed to score an offensive touchdown in a game. In fact, according to ESPN Stats and Info, this is only the second time in McVay’s 79 games as an offensive coordinator or head coach that his offense didn’t put the ball in the end zone.

    And that’s part of what makes the numbers look so odd for this particular contest.

    “I’d like to say no,” McVay replied when asked if he’d imagined there would be a game where his offense didn’t score a touchdown, “but certainly this is a humbling league and either you learn from it — you’d love to play consistently well week in and week out, but tonight was a humbling experience certainly for me as a coach and for our football team, but I do trust that we will respond the right way.”

    But even with McVay’s self-criticism, players didn’t simply let themselves off the hook — particularly Goff.

    “We definitely appreciate when he does that, but we need to be better and that’s the bottom line,” said Goff, who finished 20-of-44 passing for just 180 yards. “We are the ones on the field, we’re executing, need to make the plays, just need to do a lot of things better and we will.”

    McVay often notes that he’s so self-critical because it’s what he and the rest of the coaching staff asks the players to do. And based on cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman’s postgame comments, that approach seems to be working.

    “You just got to go home, look yourself in the mirror … and ask yourself, ‘Did I do everything that I [was] supposed to? Did I give all the effort that I was...
    -12-10-2018, 04:13 AM
  • Nick
    Sean McVay’s intensity gets Rams’ attention as offseason work begins
    by Nick
    Sean McVay’s intensity gets Rams’ attention as offseason work begins
    By RICH HAMMOND | rhammond@scng.com | Orange County Register
    PUBLISHED: April 10, 2017 at 4:32 pm | UPDATED: April 10, 2017 at 4:34 pm

    THOUSAND OAKS — It’s a tradition on almost every team. Show up to camp, collect your T-shirt with the catchy, coach-speak slogan on the back and attempt to minimize the eye-rolling.

    The intensity in new coach Sean McVay’s eyes and voice, though, made it impossible to scoff at the “We Not Me” message that Rams players, coaches and staff members wore on blue, cotton tees Monday as the team opened the first phase of its two-month offseason workout program at Cal Lutheran.

    “Everyone was at full attention,” McVay said. “Guys were locked in. They were engaged. They were ready to go. I think it was definitely the way we wanted it to come off, as a coaching staff. Right now, it’s about building relationships with these guys.”

    It’s time for a culture change. Previous coach Jeff Fisher largely took a laissez-faire attitude that basically told players to have fun and be loose, as long as they prepared and came ready to play on Sunday. That level of trust made Fisher popular among players, but it also produced a 31-45-1 record from 2012-16.

    It’s far too early to fete McVay, the youngest coach in NFL history when the Rams hired him in January, but one thing is already clear: McVay is no Fisher. McVay’s body language suggests perpetual intensity, and that seemed to come across to players during their first formal meeting with McVay on Monday.

    “I think there’s some really good, new energy here,” quarterback Jared Goff said. “Coach McVay and the rest of his staff have done a great job exuding that energy and really letting us feel it. I think it’s really a fresh start for a lot of people. I think it’s a really good feeling. Just freshness is the best way to describe it.”

    There’s plenty of work ahead. This phase of offseason work, which will continue for two weeks, will focus mostly on off-field strength and conditioning. Per NFL rules, practice-like simulations aren’t allowed until next month, but Monday represented an important moment for McVay and the Rams.

    For the first time, McVay could transition from handshakes and salutations to football talk. He could distribute playbooks and talk about offensive and defensive systems and possible position changes.

    Most of all, he could make a good first impression on the players, and vice versa. That seems to have been a success. These offseason workouts are optional, but McVay said all players attended Monday, just more than three months after they completed a dismal 4-12 season.

    “Everybody came with a fresh start, a different mindset,” defensive tackle Aaron Donald said. “We left with a real bad taste in our mouths last year; a horrible taste. I’m pretty sure everybody is ready,...
    -04-10-2017, 05:22 PM
  • Nick
    Rams rookie tight end Gerald Everett isn't shy about his expectations
    by Nick
    Rams rookie tight end Gerald Everett isn't shy about his expectations
    By Lindsey Thiry

    Rams coach Sean McVay appreciated his rookie’s confidence but thought it would be best if Gerald Everett saved his predictions until after he played in at least one NFL game.

    On Thursday, a day after Everett said that he and Tyler Higbee “could be better than the Redskins’ tight ends,” McVay, the Washington Redskins’ offensive coordinator the last three seasons, touted Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis.

    “When you talk about those types of players, those guys are the standard for the position,” McVay said at UC Irvine, where the Rams host training camp. “And you haven’t even played a preseason snap yet, my man.”

    Reed caught 203 passes, 17 for touchdowns, the last three seasons. Davis caught 44 passes last season, two for touchdowns.

    “We’re very confident in Gerald and I can appreciate his confidence,” McVay said of Everett. “But let me tell you this, if they are better than those guys, we’ll be in good shape this year.”

    The Rams, 4-12 last season, selected Everett in the second round of the NFL draft.

    He joins a tight end corps that includes veteran Cory Harkey, who has played mostly fullback, and second-year pros Tyler Higbee and Temarrick Hemingway.

    Higbee was listed as the projected starter on the initial depth chart. Everett, 6 feet 3 and 245 pounds, was mentioned as a key contributor.

    “Tyler and I are going to compliment each other,” Everett said. “We are going to be dynamic.”

    Higbee caught caught 11 passes last season, one for a touchdown.

    “Tyler definitely had a great offseason,” McVay said. “We’ll continue to see if Gerald can progress.”

    Everett caught 90 passes in two seasons at South Alabama, 12 for touchdowns.

    Veteran players are due to report to camp Friday. Practices begin Saturday.
    -07-30-2017, 08:03 AM
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