By Earl Heath, Contributing Sports Writer
It was an eye-opening experience as the L.A. Rams had a chance to try their new home for the first time. The team arrived by bus and most took pictures and videos with their cell phones like they were at Disneyland. “This is pretty awesome,” said linebacker Sam Ebukum.
Literally the biggest thing that stood out was the double-sided Oculus video board. ”I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Rams coach Sean McVay. Due to COVID-19 the 70,000 seats along with the luxury suites were empty. The NFL has canceled all pre-season games so team inter-squad scrimmages are the next best option.
After many players spent time gazing at the new 5 Billion-dollar SoFi Stadium they finally got down to business.
Jerrod Goff was steady moving the ball with his offensive unit. Malcom Brown was the workhorse the first several plays being they were on the ground. The O-Line fired off well early. “They did a really good job and are starting to gel and really feel like a unit,” said Goff.
The big movement came when back-up QB John Wolford came in and moved the ball with short passes and two boot-leg runs of 20 plus yards. He also connected with Van Jefferson on a seven touchdown. The former XFL quarterback also hit Nsimba Webster on a three yarder. The rookie Xaiver Jones had a bruising 4 yard run up the middle for a touchdown.
There were issues with headsets as Goff was receiving play calls from both Offensive Coordinator Kevin O’Connell and McVay.
The defense had bright spots aside from the ever-present Aaron Donald. Darious Williams had three pass break-ups including a nifty one at the goal line against the veteran wide receiver Josh Reynolds. Johnny Johnson lll also had a pass break-up on a Goff throw.
The kicking game had some challengers for the job including Lirim Hajrullahu who nailed all his kicks from 38, 43, 48, yard with 50 and the 50 yarder with room to spare. The former CFL veteran appears to be full of confidence. Another vying is Austin McGinnis who missed at 43 yarder but hit from 38, 48, 50. The Sacramento native has XFL experience.
Crowd noised was piped in to give the players a game like feeling. If you’re a fan it was cool however Coach McVay didn’t like it commenting, “It was more annoying than anything else”
RAMS NOTES: Rookies Bryce Perkins and Josh Love each took snaps during the workout. Perkins who’s still trying to grasp the offense had a nice QB keeper for 20 yards. The Rams are due for another workout at SoFi before the Home opener Sept 13 vs the Cowboys. The Chargers are due to get there first use of So-Fi this week.