IRVINE, Calif. — Sammy Watkins has been on the field with the Los Angeles Rams for three days and has been an active participant in only two practices. But he has already impressed starting quarterback Jared Goff with his grasp of the offense.
“He’s been sharper than I’ve expected,” Goff said Wednesday. “That’s not saying anything negatively about him, but it’s a new system for anybody. He’s been on it. He’s been sharp. It’s been a really pleasant surprise.”
The Rams officially acquired Watkins from the Buffalo Bills on Friday morning in exchange for cornerback E.J. Gaines and a second-round pick in next year’s draft. Watkins didn’t join his new teammates until Saturday afternoon, three hours before their preseason opener against the Dallas Cowboys. He had no idea how he would fit then, saying, “I don’t even know the offensive plays yet.”
But Watkins has been a quick study. He’s rooming with fellow receiver Robert Woods, his teammate in Buffalo the past three years. And assistant receivers coach Zac Taylor has been guiding him through the scheme.
Rams coach Sean McVay said he felt confident Watkins could learn the plays relatively quickly because there’s some carryover with what Bills offensive coordinator Rick Dennison implemented. Watkins estimated Monday that it would take him “a week and a half” to get fully up to speed with the way McVay attacks defenses.
Rams coach Sean McVay is learning a little bit more about Sammy Watkins every day. “You can feel his speed and his juice down the field.” Watkins caught several intermediate throws from Jared Goff today and was constantly matched up with Trumaine Johnson.
On Wednesday, Johnson intercepted Goff for the second time in three days. He was the underneath corner in zone coverage and Goff threw it right into his chest while attempting to hit Watkins in stride. Johnson also intercepted Goff on Monday while in the red zone during 11-on-11 work when he jumped a curl route from Robert Woods.