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Los Angeles Rams rookies continue to get a chance to contribute

Rams tight end Tyler Higbee hauls in a 31-yard pass over Panthers linebacker A.J. Klein during first-half action.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Fans are not chanting their names and pundits are not publicly debating their readiness for the NFL.

But several Rams rookies other than quarterback Jared Goff, the No. 1 pick in the draft who has yet to take snap, could see increased playing time in Sunday’s game against the New York Jets at East Rutherford, N.J.

Tight end Tyler Higbee, receivers Pharoh Cooper and Michael Thomas and linebacker Josh Forrest have contributed throughout the season or are making plays of late.

Higbee caught a long pass in Sunday’s loss to the Carolina Panthers at the Coliseum.

Cooper made his first catch.

Thomas has made several good special teams plays, and Forrest has started three times and is contributing in a situational role.

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Tight end Temarrick Hemingway is still working toward an opportunity.

The 6-foot-6, 250-pound Higbee, a fourth-round pick from Western Kentucky, was the darling of training camp and appeared on track to earn significant opportunities in the passing game.

But through seven games he had only two catches for six yards.

Early in the second quarter against the Panthers, he caught a pass from quarterback Case Keenum and turned it into a 31-yard gain.

“It was nice getting my hands on the ball,” said Higbee, who was targeted six other times against the Panthers. “There were a couple others I wish I could have had, but we’ll get them.”

Coach Jeff Fisher said Higbee “needs to play better” but that he was improving.

“He’s starting to figure it out now and we’ve got him involved,” Fisher said. “He needs to be better at the point of attack and he knows that.”

Cooper, a fourth-round pick from South Carolina, was sidelined for the first four regular-season games because of a shoulder injury suffered in an exhibition at Denver.

He returned a kickoff 23 yards against the Buffalo Bills and was the intended receiver on what turned out to be a pick-six interception by the Bills.

Against the Panthers, Cooper caught a pass in the second quarter for a short gain.

“He’ll probably see a little bit more playing time,” Fisher said, adding, “We just need to get the ball in his hands.”

Thomas, a sixth-round pick from Southern Mississippi, is in search of his first reception. He caught a pass from Keenum late in the game against the New York Giants in London but was beyond the end zone.

Forrest, a sixth-round pick from Kentucky, has five tackles.

Quick hits

The Rams did not practice Thursday, the players’ scheduled day off…. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was listed as limited on the Jets’ injury report. Fitzpatrick suffered a knee injury last week. Jets Coach Todd Bowles has said that Fitzpatrick would start against the Rams if sound. Bryce Petty could start in his place. Jets center Nick Mangold is expected to be sidelined for a third consecutive game because of an ankle injury.

gary.klein@latimes.com

Twitter: @LATimesklein


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