Advertisement
Rams

‘No time to waste’ as Rams prepare for Thursday night matchup against Minnesota

la-1537766602-5v5uyaevt1-snap-image
Rams running back Todd Gurley breaks the tackle of Chargers linebacker Kyzir White during a first-half drive at the Coliseum on Sunday.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Rams running back Todd Gurley lay on his back, his legs encased in NormaTec boots and his feet elevated against a black folding chair.

Defensive backs Marqui Christian and Sam Shields were also among the players jammed in the small room, all wearing the boots that are billed as recovery aids.

Minutes after Sunday’s victory over the Los Angeles Chargers, the Rams began preparing for Thursday night’s game against the Minnesota Vikings at the Coliseum.

“Minnesota starts now,” a Rams trainer called as he hurried through the locker room.

Advertisement

Rams personnel sandwiched 12 massage tables inside the crowded area as postgame interviews unfolded around them. Players lay face down on the blue and black tables, bare feet in the air, as trainers attempted to ease the wear sustained in the hard-fought 35-23 victory.

One cleaned a small cut on receiver Robert Woods’ leg, another massaged quarterback Jared Goff’s shoulders.

No one was still.

“We have a recovery workout basically right now …” center John Sullivan said. “Going Sunday to Thursday is adverse circumstances, it just is what it is.

Advertisement

“But you have to make the best of it to do what you can to get your body back.”

The Rams employed a similar strategy last season.

In Week 2, they lost to the Washington Redskins, then immediately prepped for a Thursday night game against the San Francisco 49ers. The Rams won 41-39.

The Rams aim to replicate that success by repeating their approach.

Not that every player is a fan of Thursday night games.

“Dumbest thing ever,” Gurley said.

To help ease the short turnaround, safety Lamarcus Joyner said the trainers would provide guidance for nutrition and sleep habits, and coach Sean McVay would adjust practice hours to maximize rest.

Advertisement

Sullivan said he expects coaches to emphasize mental reps and extra film rather than physical preparation.

“I can’t imagine there will be one live rep,” Sullivan said. “It’s just too short of a time frame.”

Sullivan was reassured by his familiarity with Vikings coach Mike Zimmer’s defensive scheme. Sullivan played for the Vikings for seven seasons before he was released in 2016.

In 2017, the Rams lost to the Vikings 24-7 at Minnesota. The defeat provides relative familiarity and areas of focus for Thursday’s game.

The Rams are 3-0 after the 35-23 victory over the Chargers. The Vikings are 1-1-1 after losing to the Buffalo Bills 27-6 on their home field.

“Them not doing as well as they hoped, they’re gonna be hungry coming out here,” defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh said. “A game on the road, short week, allows them to forget about it really quickly, prepare for our game.

“So we expect them to come out with a lot of firepower.”

The Rams plan to do the same.

Advertisement

About an hour after Sunday’s game, as Rams personnel continued massages, a player pedaled on a stationary bike. A bundle of green elastic bands and muscle rollers awaited nearby.

In a clearing on the floor, one trainer started to lead a circle of seven players in guided stretches. His voice, low and steady, created a calming rhythm that began to command the bustling locker room around him.

Some peace before the frantic week ahead.

“We’re still gonna pay full attention to them, like we would do any other team, but just start the process immediately…” tight end Gerald Everett said. “We really have no time to waste.”

Rams beat writer Gary Klein discusses the team’s 35-23 victory over the Chargers with reporter Annie Heilbrunn.


Newsletter
Get our daily Sports Report newsletter
Advertisement