MIKE THOMAS RETURNS
Wide receiver Mike Thomas returned to the field on Wednesday for the first time since the preseason, after serving a league-mandated four game suspension. The second-year wideout said he was “excited to be back with the guys” after a long four weeks, and shared his experiences having to watch his team from afar.
“At the end of the day [I learned] to just watch what I put in my body and don’t make the same mistakes again,” Thomas said. “Just watching on the sidelines, watching from home, that’s not a good feeling and I didn’t like that, it didn’t sit too well. I was just at home pulling my hair out.”
“It’s very difficult knowing that you’re supposed to be on the field,” he continued. “I did some careless things to make me [have to be] on the sidelines and that’s not a good feeling at all for four games straight. I just had to get over it at the end of the day and it’s behind me. So now I’m moving forward.”
On Monday, McVay said there’s a chance for Thomas to make an immediate impact on special teams, though it has yet to be determined whether the wide receiver will suit up for Sunday’s contest. And though the former Southern Miss standout understands it will take some time to get back into the swing of things, he is excited to begin contributing as soon as he can.
“I have been studying while I’ve been gone for the four games,” Thomas said. “A little rusty, but I didn’t lose too much and still remember most of the plays and all that. I’m going to hit the ground running.”
“Whatever it is that my role is coming back I just want to continue to help the team win and do whatever I have to do,” he continued. “I want to put myself in a position to win games, on special teams, offense, or wherever.”
GETTING INTO THE END ZONE
There has been a lot of excitement surrounding the Rams offense this season. Entering Week 5, the team ranks No. 1 in points scored at 142, which is a significant reason why L.A. sits atop the NFC West.
And while putting points on the scoreboard hasn’t been an issue for Los Angeles thus far, the offense did struggle to get into the endzone in last week’s contest against the Cowboys. The Rams scored just two touchdowns on Sunday, with kicker Greg Zuerlein providing 23 of the team’s 35 points.
“I think we did a great job of being able to execute and our rhythm was really good,” left guard Rodger Saffold said of the team’s performance. “But of course, looking back at it we want to score more. We want to be able to get into the end zone a bit more. I believe we were 1-for-5 in the red zone, so we need to pick it up a bit.”
“There’s a lot still to clean up,” wide receiver Cooper Kupp said. “As much as you want to look at how many points we were able to put up, at the end of the day there was a lot of points that we left off the board.”
Saffold and Kupp, however, did not see the offense’s red zone struggles as a long-term problem.
“It’s just little mistakes,” Kupp said. “As you get down into the red zone things become that much closer, that much tighter and you just can’t have those little things. We have to tighten up the screws.”
“I think that was just for that game,” Saffold said. “Of course, the closer that you get to the red zone in an away game, the tougher it is to score. We were able to make plays some times, but calls got reversed and sometimes the penalties put us in a bad position. So, I think eliminating those small mistakes we’ll get us to optimize our touchdown efficiency.”
This week the Rams will embark on a tough four game stretch that includes three road games and a divisional matchup at home against the Seahawks. Last year, Los Angeles split two games against Seattle, winning a close game 9-3 at the Coliseum before losing 24-3 at Centurylink Field.
In both games, Zuerlein was the only Rams’ player to post any points on the board, a trend Saffold said he hopes to change this Sunday at home.
“Ultimately, in previous games we have been able to score more in the red zones, but when you’re in that type of environment, which we will be once again going down to Seattle and those types of places, it’s going to be tougher to score,” he said. “If we’re going to be able to score points, then we’re going to have to be effective with everybody on field, minimize mistakes with no penalties, just all of the basic things that you’re supposed to do as an offense.”