Rams hope new receiver Sammy Watkins can get up to speed as quick as possible
It might take Sammy Watkins a few days before he learns and becomes acclimated to the Rams’ offense — and that probably cannot come soon enough for quarterback Jared Goff.
On Monday, with the newly arrived receiver mostly watching during full-team drills, defenders intercepted three of Goff’s passes, and barely missed snagging two others.
So getting Watkins up to speed as soon as possible appears imperative.
During the morning, assistant receivers coach Zac Taylor tutored Watkins. On the field before practice, coach Sean McVay provided guidance. And after the workout, Watkins ran extra routes for Goff under the watchful eye of receivers coach Eric Yarber.
Watkins, acquired Friday in a trade with the Buffalo Bills, sounded happy to be in Southern California — “It’s sunny. It’s hot. It’s great,” he said — but cautioned that he would not learn the offense overnight.
“I’m not going to look like Sammy Watkins in three days,” he said. “I’ve really just got to learn the playbook and the concepts and just get time with Jared and the offense and go out and play fast.”
Watkins will get in for a few plays this Saturday in a preseason game against the Oakland Raiders, McVay said.
But the staff will not hurry Watkins, the deep threat the Rams had been searching for since McVay’s hiring in January.
McVay walked Watkins through a few routes, and said the fifth-year pro was smart and on point.
“He’s picked things up pretty well,” McVay said.
Watkins was preparing for his fourth season with the Bills before the Rams sent cornerback E.J. Gaines and a second-round pick in the 2018 draft to Buffalo for Watkins and a sixth-round pick.
Asked what he knew of the Rams before the trade, Watkins cited a tradition of “great” defense.
“Right now we have a lot of young guys on offense, particularly the skill guys — a lot of speed,” Watkins said. “We just have to come together and help Jared, he’ll help us and just really make plays.
“That’s what it comes down to, making plays and scoring touchdowns.”
On Monday, Goff connected with rookie receiver Cooper Kupp on a midrange touchdown pass.
But cornerbacks Trumaine Johnson, Troy Hill and Kevin Peterson intercepted Goff passes.
“That’s where we’ve got to make great decisions with the football,” McVay said.
The defense also contributed to Goff’s miscues, McVay said. But Goff apparently did not move through his progressions as the plays developed.
“Some of them were just a great play by the defense,” McVay said, “and then some of them we’ve got to be ready to progress based on the concept.”
Once Watkins gets up to speed with the playbook, he will no doubt become one of Goff’s first options.
To aid in his learning, Watkins is turning to fellow receiver Robert Woods, who signed with the Rams during the offseason. Woods and Watkins were Bills teammates for three seasons.
Watkins said he was rooming with Woods.
“He’s a great leader,” Watkins said, adding, “He just helped my game out mentally, he’s a great guy to be around because every day he comes out and works.
“And even days when I didn’t want to work I’ve seen him working and we both feed off each other.”
After fumbling five times against the Cowboys, the Rams went through ball-security drills. . . . Tight ends Gerald Everett and Temarrick Hemingway caught touchdown passes from backup quarterback Sean Mannion in short-yardage situations.
Follow Gary Klein on Twitter @latimesklein
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