INGLEWOOD (News4usonline) – What a difference a year makes. After going through the COVID-19 pandemic where everything just about under the sun had to be shut down, the Los Angeles Rams entered a phase in their open practice to the public at Sofi Stadium.
That phase is having fans back in the building. Well, actually, it’s the first time since SoFi Stadium was completed and ready to entertain the masses that there were fans in the building watching some football.
The 2020 NFL season was a quiet one for the league, especially here in Los Angeles, where the Rams played their home games without their legion of fans.
With the pandemic seemingly under control here in Los Angeles County, the anxiousness of getting back to normalcy brought out the eager beaver fan. There were tens of thousands of people who came out to watch the Rams go through their drills during a minicamp practice.
Some football is better than no football. Rams fans will take that in a heartbeat. The atmosphere on the last day of the Rams holding minicamp practice almost seemed surreal to have fans wearing jerseys, sitting and clamoring to see their favorite player. In actuality, it felt good to be normal again.
To see parents bringing their kids to a football practice was priceless. And something we should never, ever take for granted again. A year ago, everyone was sitting on pins and needles while housewarming their own home with nowhere to go.
Six months ago, Californians were stuck in their homes. Here it is in June, and the state is ready to open up again. Fans making their way to SoFi Stadium is a positive sign that we’re trending the right way.
A mini-miracle has happened in the last six months, and now seeing players like Matthew Stafford, DeSean Jackson, Jalen Ramsey, and the rest of the Rams, is indeed a treat.
So what did anyone get out of the open practice or the other days of minicamp? Just the fact that players and coaches have gone back to their normal routine, pre-Covid, of football drills. Maybe the biggest deal is that Ramsey flipped his No. 20 jersey session, for No. 5.
Speaking of uniform changes, Jackson, who has worn the No. 10 throughout his career, is now sporting jersey No. 1. Fellow wide receiver has No. 10 covered. Robert Woods is No. 2. And just in case anyone is wondering, quarterback Matthew Stafford is set at No. 9. The Rams practice almost became a backdrop to the fans being in the building.
And there is the matter of seeing SoFi Stadium in all of its beautiful glory. It is simply an architectural marvel. Since the Rams arrived from St. Louis, the team has been in somewhat no man’s land. For three years, the Rams played at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
And then last season, the first at SoFi Stadium, the Rams were hit the reality of conducting business as usual without the roar and energy of their fan base. That may have finally changed. The Rams actually playing in their home stadium with their home crowd packing the seats.
As far as the practice stuff, the biggest target on the field is Stafford. The veteran quarterback, who was traded here from the Detroit Lions as an upgrade to Jared Goff, has all eyes on him. The top-notch Rams defense got a boost with Stafford now the team’s starting signal-caller.
That means the Rams will only go as far as Stafford’s strong right arm will go. Head coach Sean McVay and the Rams hope that that is pretty far this season. When training camp roll around in late July, those expectations are only going to magnify.
For now, we’re content with still trying to pick up our jaws off the field from looking at the wonderment that SoFi Stadium is.
Featured Image Caption: Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Trishton Jackson (83) at the team’s last day of minicamp practice. Photo credit: Mark Hammond/News4usonline