Rams start second Super Bowl quest with receiver question

A banner commemorating the Rams’ Super Bowl LVI championship will be unveiled in Thursday night’s season opener against the Buffalo Bills — not that coach Sean McVay is too excited about it.

“It’s great to unveil a banner,” McVay said Friday, “we’ve moved on.”

McVay is clearly focused on the game against the Bills, one of the favorites emerging from the AFC for Super Bowl LVII at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.

The Rams are attempting to become the first team to repeat as Super Bowl champions since the 2004 season. So McVay doesn’t spend time reflecting on last season, when the Rams ended an all-in boom-or-bust season with a Super Bowl win over the Cincinnati Bengals at owner Stan Kroenke’s shiny new stadium.

“I will always have great deference to this team,” McVay said, “but this is around 2022.”

Thursday’s opener marks the Rams’ first regular-season game at SoFi Stadium since February, when they celebrated amid confetti after beating the Bengals 23-20 to cap a dramatic postseason run.

The Rams are six months away from victory, but “it feels like a long time ago,” McVay said.

“It’s something I’ll always appreciate,” he said, “but I think if you live in the past you get exposed in the present and we wouldn’t do that.”

The Rams have Saturday off and then return Sunday to continue preparation for the Bills, who are led on offense by quarterback Josh Allen and on defense by edge rusher Von Miller, a key Rams player last season. could be cited.

It looks like all Rams starters will be available, with the likely exception of receiver Van Jefferson.

Rams wide receiver Van Jefferson runs during camp in late July.

Rams wide receiver Van Jefferson runs during camp in late July. It doesn’t appear he’ll be ready to return for Thursday’s season opener against Buffalo from his knee injury.

(Kyusung Gong/Associated Press)

Jefferson, a third-year pro, had knee surgery while at training camp. He has worked with coaches on the field but did not participate in joint practice sessions with the Bengals last week.

“He’s making good progress,” said McVay. “We take it one day at a time.”

Last season, Jefferson caught 50 passes for 802 yards and six touchdowns. He caught four passes for 23 yards in the Super Bowl. Jefferson had knee surgery offseason and appeared to be moving well for the first few days of camp. But due to complaints caused by what McVay said caused an unrelated problem, Jefferson underwent surgery again.

Against the Bills, quarterback Matthew Stafford will switch to a receiver corps that includes Star Cooper Kupp, Allen Robinson and, if Jefferson isn’t playing, a likely combination of Ben Skowronek, Tutu Atwell and possibly Brandon Powell.

As rookies last season, Skowronek and Atwell caught 11 and zero passes, respectively. Powell played almost exclusively as a kick returner. With Jefferson sidelined for most of camp and all of preseason, the three receivers recorded many first-team reps during practice.

“If you said alright, what was a positive aspect of losing a great player in Van that we really rely on,” McVay said, it was the opportunities for Skowronek, Powell and Atwell “to really show themselves and to.” show what they are capable of.”

Undrafted free agent receiver Lance McCutcheon made the initial 53-man roster but needs to develop as a special teams player, McVay said.

Etc.

Stafford, Kupp, offensive lineman Rob Havenstein, defensive lineman Aaron Donald, linebacker Bobby Wagner and cornerback Jalen Ramsey were chosen to be team captains, McVay said. … The Rams have signed linebacker Jake Gervase, who was waived Tuesday. Gervase replaces rookie outside linebacker Daniel Hardy, who is on injured reserve following ankle surgery. Gervase is an experienced Special Teams operator. … Ozzy Osbourne will perform at halftime in the opener, the Rams announced.

https://www.latimes.com/sports/rams/story/2022-09-02/super-bowl-rams-repeat-van-jefferson-injury Rams start second Super Bowl quest with receiver question

Emma Bowman

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