Los Angeles Rams Rumors & News

Titans Interview Matt LaFleur

The Titans have announced that they have finished their interview today with Rams offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur. The sides had to push back the scheduled meeting a day because of weather-related issues, but LaFleur has now completed his first interview for a head coaching role.

Matt LaFleur (Vertical)

LaFleur is young for a potential head coach at just 38 years old. He also is inexperienced as an offensive coordinator having served just one season under Sean McVay in Los Angeles. In his favor, LaFleur does have a tremendous track record as a quarterbacks coach, most recently helping to guide Matt Ryan through an MVP campaign just a year ago.

The Titans and former head coach Mike Mularkey parted ways because of the team’s wish to get the right guy for Marcus Mariota‘s development moving forward. LaFleur seems to fit the bill with what the front office is looking for.

With that said, Tennessee is still considering candidates of many background, including Mike Vrabel (HOU DC), Steve Wilks (CAR DC) and Frank Reich (Eagles OC). Just Wilks and Vrabel have been interviewed along with LaFleur.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Rams Notes: Donald, Watkins, Johnson

The Rams’ offseason plans hinge greatly on getting an extension done with All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald. However, team general manager Les Snead will not specify if he is the “first or last domino to fall,” ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez writes.

“What I do know is he is an important domino,” Snead said. It is likely Donald will become the highest-paid defender at some point this offseason, and the signing will dictate much of what the Rams can do with the rest of their salary cap.

Gonzalez also notes that a deal might have to wait until after Oakland resigns Khalil Mack for talks to begin to get serious. One of the frontrunners for 2017 Defensive Player of the Year, Donald is set to make $6.89MM in 2018, which is half of what Mack, who was taken eight spots higher than him in the 2014 NFL Draft, is expected to make.

Whenever Donald does ink a deal, there is no doubt he will be worth the pay raise. In his four seasons, the Pitt product has earned four Pro Bowl selections and has been named First Team All-Pro in each of the last three seasons. In 2017, Donald tied his career high with 11 sacks and furthered his reputation as the game’s top interior pass rusher.

Here is more from the Rams:

  • Gonzalez writes that using a franchise or transition tag on Sammy Watkins makes sense. Acquired by the Rams prior to the start of the 2017 campaign, Watkins provided a decent season eight touchdown grabs but only saw 67 targets. Another year in the high-powered offense will allow the fourth-year wideout to reach his potential after developing a better rapport with quarterback Jared Goff. The Rams traded a 2018 second-round pick and E.J. Gaines to the Bills for Watkins, and it would make sense they would want to see their investment for a full year in their system.
  • Snead can definitely see a scenario in which Trumaine Johnson returns to the team in 2018, Gonzalez reports. With Kayvon Webster out with an Achilles injury, it would make sense for the Rams to explore all options with the sixth-year cornerback. Gonzalez notes they would have to pay him like a top cornerback.
  • If Donald gets an extension, Watkins and Lamarcus Joyner are tagged, and Johnson is resigned, Gonzales thinks the team would look at parting with Robert Quinn or Mark Barron to make ends meet.

Rams Promote Zac Taylor

  • The Rams have promoted assistant wide receivers coach Zac Taylor to quarterbacks coach, the club announced today. Taylor will replace Greg Olson, who left Los Angeles to become the Raiders’ next offensive coordinator under new head coach Jon Gruden. Taylor has previous play-calling experience, having served as the OC for both the University of Cincinnati and the Dolphins. But he won’t be leading the offense with the Rams, who also employ head coach Sean McVay and offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur. Instead, Taylor will help guide former No. 1 overall pick Jared Goff as he enters his third NFL campaign.

NFL Reserve/Future Contracts: 1/8/18

Here are the latest reserve/futures contract signings from around the NFL. These deals will go into effect on the first day of the 2018 league year, with players joining their respective clubs’ offseason 90-man rosters:

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

  • WR Rasheed Bailey

Detroit Lions

Los Angeles Rams 

Rams Could Lose Greg Olson

If the Raiders (as expected) hire ESPN commentator Jon Gruden as their next head coach, they are expected to lure Rams quarterbacks coach Greg Olson to be their new offensive coordinator, tweets Alex Marvez of the Sporting News. Marvez reported yesterday that Olson might be a candidate to join Gruden in Oakland, but now it sounds as though an Olson addition will be a foregone conclusion. Olson, 54, has served as the Raiders’ offensive play-caller before (2013-14), and has also been an OC at several other stops, including Detroit, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, and Jacksonville, but Gruden is expected to run his own offense once he arrives in Oakland.

NFL Workout Updates: 1/4/18

Today’s NFL workout updates, with all links going to veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer’s Twitter account:

Arizona Cardinals

  • G Greg Pyke (link)

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Cleveland Browns

Indianapolis Colts

  • DE Evan Panfil (link)

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

  • LS Anthony Kukwa (link)

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Rams Could Lose Greg Olson

  • ESPN analyst Jon Gruden appears set to become the next Raiders head coach, and he’s reportedly been contacting potential staff members for weeks. Two of those coaches may be Rams quarterbacks coach Greg Olson and Bears offensive line coach Jeremiah Washburn, per Alex Marvez of the Sporting News (Twitter links). Gruden is also reportedly interested in Jets OC John Morton and Bengals DC Paul Guenther.

Trumaine Johnson Wants To Stay With Rams

  • Trumaine Johnson is finishing out his second franchise-tagged season, but he’s unsure the Rams will bring him back. The cornerback said at the beginning of the season it didn’t sound like he was in the team’s long-term plans, but he’s played a big role for a contending team this season. And Johnson, who turns 28 on Monday, pointed out this week he would like to stay in Los Angeles. “I’d love to be around,” Johnson said, via Rich Hammond of the Los Angeles Daily News. “But again, I understand the business side of it, so we’ll see. We’ll see in these next couple months.”
  • Sean McVay (via Hammond) isn’t sure Mark Barron will return for the Rams’ playoff opener next weekend. The linebacker’s battling an Achilles’ tendon injury and will be one of many players the Rams will rest today.

Rams Activate Cody Davis From IR

Cody Davis is back. Myles Simmons of TheRams.com reports (via Twitter) that the Rams have activated the safety from the injured reserve. To make room on the roster, the team has placed linebacker Matt Longacre on the injured reserve (as we learned yesterday).

Cody DavisDavis had played in six games for the Rams this season before injuring his quadriceps in October. The safety ultimately compiled 19 tackles, three passes defended, and one interception before landing on the IR in early November. The former undrafted free agent out of Texas Tech has spent his entire five-year career with the Rams organization, and he’s taken on more responsibility each season. In fact, despite missing more than half the season, Davis had already collected a career-high in tackles in 2017.

“Excited and happy for all of the success that this team has gotten accomplished,” Davis told the team’s website. “But sitting on the sidelines, you’re just itching to get back out there, so it feels great to be out practicing with my teammates.”

Davis will likely continue his role as a special teams’ ace and a backup safety for the Rams. He’ll presumably compete with Isaiah Johnson for snaps behind Lamarcus Joyner and John Johnson at safety.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Rams To Stick With Sam Ficken For Week 17

Sam Ficken won a deep competition to replace the injured Greg Zuerlein as the kicker for the NFC West champion Rams last week, but his first NFL game did not go well. The rookie missed a 36-yard field goal and an extra point in a four-point Rams win against the Titans.

Nine other kickers made the trip to Rams headquarters last week, but Sean McVay said he will stick with Ficken going forward.

We’re going to continue to give him an opportunity, and we believe in Sam,” McVay said in team-issued quotes. “Like we said, we loved the way that he responded and I think this week will provide a great chance for him to continue to do some things for our team, and we’re going to move forward with confidence with him.”

McVay indicated the Rams would probably rest starters in Week 17, but Ficken will have possibly the highest-stakes game of any Ram in their regular-season finale against the 49ers. He made his other three extra points last week, but the Rams could pivot to one of the more experienced kickers who took part in the tryout — one that featured Dan Carpenter, Garrett Hartley and Jason Myers — if Ficken falters again on Sunday.

Zuerlein still leads the NFL with 158 points and was voted to his first Pro Bowl a day prior to the Rams placing him on IR.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.