LA Rams OTAs: McVay expects Stafford at minicamp; tight ends impress


THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — It seems obvious to those on the outside that Los Angeles Rams veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford is expected to attend next week’s mandatory minicamp, the final phase in their offseason workouts. After all, Stafford has been present for all of the voluntary workouts over the last few weeks, despite an ongoing contract issue.

But importantly — and as all internal parties are aware — the key word there is “ongoing.”

Sean McVay said Tuesday that there is still no resolution between the team and Stafford, who the head coach confirmed in April is looking for an adjustment to the extension he signed in 2022. NFL Network initially reported that Stafford wants more guaranteed money on the deal, which currently runs out after this season (though the contract itself is through 2026).

“Same as last time that we spoke,” said McVay, when asked about the status of Stafford’s contract after Tuesday’s practice, noting that there has been no progress on the matter. “We’re just keeping everything internal.”

But, said McVay, he does expect Stafford to be present for minicamp next week. Often, the Rams have settled contract disputes or extensions deeper into the offseason — ahead of training camp. For now, the matter remains unresolved. The Rams have not made Stafford available for interviews with the media thus far into the offseason.

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More notes, observations and analysis from Tuesday’s OTAs:

• Starting inside linebacker Ernest Jones has not practiced during any of the three days credentialed media has been permitted access. He has been present on the sidelines during 11-on-11 drills, with a black sleeve on his leg. McVay said that Jones is dealing with a knee issue, and “the goal” is that he returns for training camp.

Similarly, right tackle Rob Havenstein did not practice on the access day last week and was limited to installation and drills Tuesday, and held out of 11-on-11s. McVay said Havenstein is dealing with knee soreness but added that neither injury was of concern to him.

• Although he is wearing a red no-contact jersey, newcomer tight end Colby Parkinson’s size and speed (for his size) pops in practices. The Rams signed Parkinson to a three-year, $22.5 million deal in the spring.

“I always really appreciated the growth that you watch,” McVay said, “and I thought Shane (Waldron) did a great job utilizing his skill set in Seattle where you could really get a good evaluation. What a special person, first and foremost, and you see the size, really, from our tight end group as a whole. But (Parkinson) is definitely gonna add real value. We’re looking forward to being able to get the pads on, playing real football and we can get a little bit better of an evaluation in a full-speed setting. … The size, the instincts, just the overall character, we’re certainly excited about him.”

Hunter Long has returned to practice after recovery from MCL surgery. He, second-year tight end Davis Allen and Parkinson were all extremely active with both Stafford and backup Jimmy Garoppolo in Tuesday’s practice.

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• Safety Russ Yeast, who defensive coordinator Chris Shula confirmed last week will compete for the opening at the “star” position (a hybrid safety/corner who often is responsible for the shorter areas of the field, but who has coverage responsibilities that can differ from that of a traditional nickel) also wore a red no-contact jersey for the second week in a row. The Rams are also trying to find a role for third-year cornerback Derion Kendrick, who has rotated in at star and other sub packages.

The timeline to return from an Achilles repair for veteran cornerback Tre’Davious White is still unclear, but he has worked to the side during practice with athletic training staff. That means opportunities at cornerback have increased for veteran Darious Williams and third-year cornerback Cobie Durant.

Williams broke up a deep pass from Stafford intended for second-year receiver Puka Nacua during 11-on-11s, during which Nacua fell awkwardly on his wrist and was slow to get back up. A trainer rushed to him, but Nacua seemed more concerned with the replay on the video board to see what went wrong for him on the play, and quickly returned to the action.

• Stafford tried to hit Nacua on the opposite sideline earlier in the practice, but his throw was hurried by a speed-rush from outside linebacker Byron Young and fell incomplete. No contact is allowed, and the pads are not on (so the football isn’t real in the trenches) but Young’s speed off the ball still stood out.

• Among the receivers, veteran Demarcus Robinson has looked like he’s aging in reverse over these past few weeks — and the rapport he established with Stafford through the latter half of last season seems to have carried over.

• White, cornerback Cameron McCutcheon, cornerback Tre Tomlinson and running back Kyren Williams all worked to the side. Williams’ own workout with an athletic trainer was up-tempo and at times monitored by position coach Ron Gould. Williams is expected to return to the field in training camp, and meanwhile, backups Ronnie Rivers and Blake Corum will see more snaps.

• Veteran running back Boston Scott, who was signed by the Rams in late-spring, is already a key contributor on special teams (inclusive to the new kickoff rules), according to coordinator Chase Blackburn.

“He’s done a really nice job,” Blackburn said. “He has done both punt return and kick return, awesome to have him here. Great veteran presence. Really taking a leadership role even immediately in the punt team, moving around from wing to person protector to making the calls, going back and forth … then obviously from a dual returner perspective, just a great guy. Great human, awesome teammate and really showing the way right now.”

As a reminder, the Rams prohibit credentialed media from reporting on specifics such as scheme, formations, snap counts or anything they could deem as competitive information. If a coach addresses a position hierarchy or a schematic concept directly in a news conference when asked, that information is then able to be reported.

(Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea / Getty Images)



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