Gerald Everett was expected to play a larger role in the Rams’ high-scoring offense this season, the second for both the tight end and coach Sean McVay.
That plan has hit an early roadblock.
A shoulder injury will prevent Everett from traveling with the team to Baltimore for joint practices with the Ravens and the Rams’ first preseason game, McVay said after Saturday’s workout, the second in a row that Everett sat out.
McVay sounded cautiously optimistic after describing the injury as a sprain, but acknowledged concern that it could be more serious or difficult to play through because of the physical demands tight ends confront on every play.
“Fortunately, it’s not something right now that we felt like had to get fixed,” McVay said. “But until you really go through that process, you never know how it’s truly going to respond.”
The Rams averaged a league-best 29.9 points last season without big numbers by the tight ends, which accounted for only 49 of the team’s 320 receptions, and only three of 28 touchdown catches.
After the Rams lost to Atlanta in the wild-card round of the playoffs, McVay said throughout the offseason that Everett, Tyler Higbee and Temarrick Hemingway were on track to give the offense more options.
Everett, a second-round pick in 2017, caught only 16 passes as rookie, two for touchdowns. He said last week that his goal was to become more consistent and provide a red-zone threat. Now he must wait to show it.
Johnny Mundt, Henry Krieger-Coble and Cody McElroy, with a combined five games of NFL experience, are the other tight ends on the roster.
Armed and ready
Jared Goff enjoyed perhaps the best training-camp performance of his young career during a practice that lasted 2½ hours.
Goff connected with receivers Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp on multiple passes into tight coverage. He also hooked up with Todd Gurley and Woods, among others, for touchdowns.
Goff’s performance was all the more impressive, McVay said, because many plays were unscripted and several were executed cleanly despite late communication from the play-caller.
“You felt that he was in total command,” McVay said.
Like defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh is eager to see how it looks when he eventually lines up next to holdout Aaron Donald.
“There’s a situation that needs to be taken care of,” Suh said of the impasse between the Rams and Donald. “Hopefully, swiftly and he can get back to us and we can start working together. But in the meantime, I’ve got plenty of other teammates I’ve got to work with and get used to and make plays with.”
McVay said he was “not really sure” if Donald would report by Tuesday, the NFL deadline for the fourth-year pro who, if he fails to show, would lose a year of service toward becoming an unrestricted free agent.
McVay said he was scheduled to meet with front-office executives about the situation Saturday night.
“There really hasn’t been much progress in terms of the dialogue” since training camp began, McVay said, adding, “Certainly that deadline, I don’t really know exactly how they look at it, how we look at it. I just know that we want to try to find a way to get him here.”