By Earl Heath, Contributing Sports Writer

The Rams improved their defense during the off-season by acquiring middle linebacker Bobby Wagner. The long time Seahawk has stood out in practice working with teammates including the younger players. 

One practice this week the 12 year vet leaped in the air a few feet for an interception then jetted down the sideline for a touchdown. Many of his teammates met him in the end zone for a memorable celebration. 

 “Oh, man, that was a great play,” cornerback David Long said. “Bobby’s just been doing a lot of great things. He’s been a great addition to the defense. As great of a play as it was, like once I saw who it was, I expect him to make those plays.” 

Quarterback Matthew Stafford will see less work in training camp moving forward. The 12-year veteran has inflammation in his throwing arm  

The 34 year-old received an elbow injection in his throwing arm and didn’t throw throughout the offseason program, but he was ready for the start of training camp and had full workloads on the days when he wasn’t scheduled to rest. 

“We lessened Matthew’s workload today,” Rams head coach McVay said. “Really, when we look at it, we’ve got five weeks until September 8 (for the season opener against the Buffalo Bills). He’s still feeling a little bit of pain. 

Stafford threw 40 to 50 passes during individual drills this week. McVay estimated, before backup quarterback John Wolford took over in team drills with the starting unit. 

“We felt like the smart thing was let’s really just take it a week at a time. We didn’t take part in team activities and that’s really the result of he’s got so much experience. The most important thing was for him feeling good and healthy on September 8. He can certainly push and he can really grind through this, but that’s not the goal with somebody like him. It’s not something that we’re concerned about. We just want to be really smart with somebody that is as important as our quarterback is and as experienced as he is and to be able to put together a plan that we like that’s in his best interest and our team’s best interest.” 

Wide receiver Van Jefferson is scheduled to have surgery on Tuesday for a knee tweak and is expected to be sidelined for a few weeks, according to McVay. 

It was referred to by McVay as a “minor” procedure and he also mentioned that the knee injury is different from the one that sidelined Jefferson throughout the offseason program. Jefferson has missed the past three camp practices at UC Irvine. 

“We’ll see what his availability looks like to start the season but it was really positive news that we got on him,” McVay said Monday about his third-year receiver. “He’s in good spirits. We’ll get his knee cleaned up later, and then I know he’s going to attack the rehab the right way.” 

Juju Atwell is having a solid camp so far. With Odell Beckem Jr. and Jefferson out The 5-foot-9 Atwell will have to “step up” and be ready. The second year man made an impact by making plays in the middle of the field with QB’s John Wolford and Bryce Perkins. The Rams drafted Atwell in the second round last year to stretch the field, something that hasn’t occurred because of Atwell’s injury setbacks, but this week was a good sign of him developing as an all-around receiver. 

“I think opportunities,” McVay said about why Atwell stood out Monday. “I think really you just look at being intentional about making sure that we get some plays and some things that he does well off. I thought he came and he was ready to go.”