Rams mailbag: Stadium delay, uniforms, draft picks, Peyton Manning and a new puppy

The Rams move into the final phase of the offseason workout program when organized team activities begin on Monday.

There is no live contact, but the offense and defense can work in full-team drills during the 10 OTA workouts.

The Rams also will hold a minicamp in mid-June.

Now, on to your questions. Keep them coming at @latimesklein or


The Rams have not made the playoffs since 2004.

With new coach Sean McVay, new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips and free-agent acquisitions such as left tackle Andrew Whitworth and receiver Robert Woods, there is reason for optimism about an improved record.

But it is way too early to say whether this is a potential playoff team. (And, as colleague Lindsey Thiry will attest, I am a notorious fence-sitter).


Seattle, with the addition of running back Eddie Lacy, will be formidable again in the NFC West. Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer appears near the end of his career, but Larry Fitzgerald is still going strong and running back David Johnson is coming off a terrific season. And although San Francisco will probably improve under Kyle Shanahan, it might be awhile before the 49ers are a playoff contender.

My early prediction for the Rams: 8-8.

Renovations to the Coliseum will be overseen by USC and are scheduled to begin in earnest after the 2017 NFL season. The Rams’ last regular-season home game is Dec. 31.

I have not heard about any major concerns from the Rams. They talk about improving the fan experience, and to that end I’m certain there will be subtle changes from last season.

But when it comes to stadiums, the Rams are more focused on the new $2.6-billion Inglewood project. Pushing back the completion date from 2019 to 2020 has not changed that.

As I wrote in the aftermath of news of the stadium delay, the Rams planned to rebrand with new uniforms when they went into the Inglewood venue in 2019.


They have gone through the process with the NFL and Nike and are eligible to do it in 2019.

Now, however, they might wait until 2020.

Kevin Demoff, the Rams’ chief operating officer and vice president of football operations, has said a decision would be made in the next few months.

My guess is that they will wait until 2020.

Thanks for the question.

Please see above.


Pushing back the stadium does not affect the Rams on the field.

It affects the bottom line, at least the one the Rams projected from the sale of suites, personal-seat licenses and all kinds of other things with a move-in date of 2019.

I don’t think we’ll see any disappointment from players. With the yearly churn of NFL rosters and the short duration of most careers, there is no guarantee a player on the Rams 2017 roster will still be a member of the Rams in 2019 or 2020.

Offensive lineman Andrew Whitworth signed a three-year, free-agent contract that would have put him in the new stadium in the final year in 2019. He’ll be 38 when that deal ends. So we’ll see if he makes it to the new stadium.

I don’t know if or when the Rams will confirm playing an international game in 2019.

But my sense is later rather than sooner, with the understanding that it’s probably just a formality because they will still be playing in a temporary stadium.

I wouldn’t purchase airline tickets for London just yet. The Rams could play in Mexico or perhaps another country if the NFL continues to expand its international reach. Remember, there was talk last year that the Rams might play in China in 2018.

From what I have been told, that probably is not going to happen.

The Rams, at one point last year, were rumored to be heading to Mexico this season.

That would make a lot of sense, what with proximity and such a large Latino population in Southern California.

The Patriots, however, are playing the Raiders in Mexico this season.

Winning a few Super Bowls apparently comes with privileges.

Kevin Demoff is vice president of football operations. Les Snead is the general manager.

Peyton Manning was a terrific, Super Bowl-winning quarterback for the Colts and the Broncos. He would no doubt be a heck of a broadcaster. But I don’t see him working in the Rams’ front office.

Every general manager drafts with an eye toward development.

It’s great, of course, when players such as Aaron Donald and Todd Gurley break out as rookies, but those are the exceptions to the rule.

I think you make a valid point, though, about tight end Gerald Everett, who was chosen in the second round from South Alabama. McVay and Snead are banking that he will develop into a contributor this season.

Snead drafted receiver Brian Quick out of Appalachian State in the second round in 2012. He was regarded as a project.

Quick did not produce much in his first two seasons, but appeared to be coming on in 2014 before he suffered a shoulder injury. He signed a one-year prove-it contract before last season, but the Rams moved on after another underwhelming performance, and Quick signed this offseason with the Washington Redskins.

Is that a trick question? I’m joking, but confusion is certain to arise from the names Cooper Kupp and Pharoh Cooper.

Receiver Tavon Austin had wrist surgery a few weeks ago and will not participate in OTAs.

Pharoh Cooper, a fourth-round pick in 2016, was slowed much of last season because of a shoulder injury suffered during the preseason. He finished with only 14 catches.

Coach Sean McVay and general manager Les Snead took Cooper Kupp in the third round this year with a clear plan to work him into the receiver rotation.

For receiving drills, my sense is that Robert Woods will be first in line, followed by Pharoh Cooper and maybe Mike Thomas and Bradley Marquez because of seniority.

But if reputation holds, Kupp will go into OTAs knowing the responsibilities of every receiver position — and more. I expect to see him taking plenty of first-team reps.

With most NFL draft picks receiving slotted salaries, there isn’t much room for them to negotiate.

Each team handles the timetable for signing picks in its own way.

Last year, the Rams signed all of their draft picks in early June, so I would anticipate a similar timetable this year.

We’ll see.

You’re right about the tight ends’ youth. Cory Harkey is mainly a fullback, so the most seasoned veteran is second-year pro Tyler Higbee. He had only 11 catches as a rookie in 2016.

McVay has said he was encouraged by what he saw of Higbee and second-year pro Temarrick Hemingway during a minicamp. Now they have added rookie Gerald Everett.

The blocking and pass-catching responsibilities make tight end one of the most demanding offensive positions.

McVay and quarterback Jared Goff need the tight ends to grow up fast.

It’s difficult to assess how much back-up quarterback Sean Mannion has improved.

Last season, he got no first-team reps. He played in only one game and attempted six passes. He no doubt has worked hard during the offseason, but he is sitting behind the No. 1 pick in last year’s draft, the player who impacts nearly every move regarding the offense, as I wrote about after this year’s rookie camp.

Jared Goff is the starter. Mannion will not get a starting opportunity unless Goff suffers an injury, is sidelined because of an off-the-field issue or plays very poorly for an extended stretch.

Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips is installing a 3-4 scheme and has said that Mark Barron would play as an inside linebacker along with Alec Ogletree, the middle linebacker last season in a 4-3.

Second-year pro Josh Forrest, who started four games last season, will get reps. The Rams list rookie Samson Ebukam as a linebacker, rather than an outside linebacker, so he figures to get some work there as well during OTAs.

Former Washington lineman Jake Eldrenkamp apparently impressed at center during rookie minicamp.

He will get reps with veteran John Sullivan, third-year pro Demetrius Rhaney and Austin Blythe, who last week was claimed off waivers from the Indianapolis Colts.

Jon Toth from Kentucky was listed as a tryout player on the Rams rookie minicamp roster. But he is not on the regular roster.

Nothing official. I’m told plans and dates will be released soon.

Our new puppy, Toni, is doing great. She’s about 11 weeks old.

She’s got a brindle coat that resembles a tiger. Like me, she does not wear Rams gear. Her collar, for now, is red and her bowl is silver stainless steel.

The other day, she pulled a football out of the bushes in the backyard and began chewing on the laces. I was going to let her enjoy it until I realized it was our neighbor’s.

She’s now enjoying a tennis ball.

Thanks to everyone for all the great questions. Let’s do it again next week.

Gary Klein and his family’s puppy, Toni.
Gary Klein and his family's puppy, Toni.

Follow Gary Klein on Twitter @latimesklein