The Rams roster, once a veritable Who’s Who of NFL stars, is now a “Who’s That?” compilation.
After an offseason of releases, trades and thanks-for-the-memories goodbyes to key players from the Super Bowl championship team of two seasons ago and last season’s disaster, the Rams are attempting to begin anew.
The roster includes nearly 40 first-year players.
The youth is not lost on quarterback Matthew Stafford, who at 35 is preparing for his 15th NFL season.
“I’ve got 6-year-old daughters, and I think to myself, ‘Some of these guys were 6 when I started playing in the NFL,’ ” Stafford said, chuckling, after an organized-team-activity workout Tuesday. “So, it’s kind of hard to sit there and think about that.”
Coach Sean McVay said he and his staff are enjoying teaching during an offseason program that includes no live-contact drills, per the NFL bargaining agreement.
“There’s so many guys out here doing stuff for the first time,” he said. “We just want to be able to take steps.
“There’s a lot of fresh energy.”
Here are five observations from the workout:
Stafford appears fit: Stafford did not throw passes last year during offseason workouts because of right elbow tendinitis. That affected timing with receivers — see now-in-Pittsburgh Allen Robinson — even before he suffered a concussion and season-ending spinal bruise.
Stafford was a full participant Tuesday and appeared to be at full strength. He had one pass intercepted during an 11-on-11 drill.
“At this point last year, I wasn’t throwing at all — wasn’t really doing much,” Stafford said, “So I love playing, I love being out here.”
Bennett, like Stafford, played at Georgia.
“To be able to come in here and just learn from him and listen has been pretty cool,” Bennett said. “I haven’t fanboy’d out yet.”
McVay is pleased with Bennett’s progress.
“He’s really smart,” McVay said.
Who’s not there? Star defensive lineman Aaron Donald and star receiver Cooper Kupp, both of whom suffered season-ending ankle injuries in 2022, were absent for personal reasons, McVay said.
Donald, who celebrated his 32nd birthday Tuesday, has attended the voluntary offseason workouts. Kupp has been absent to be with his wife and family while awaiting the birth of their third child, McVay said.
“Those guys have done a great job communicating and staying engaged and they know everything that’s going on,” McVay said.
In Kupp’s absence, other receivers have taken advantage of the increased opportunity to establish timing and rapport with Stafford, McVay said.
Making the transition: Offensive guard Steve Avila, the Rams’ top pick in the draft, looked comfortable during drills and appears to be embracing his opportunity.
“If you were to tell 7-year-old me I’d be here,” Avila said, “he’d be bragging at school. That’s all I’ve got to say.”
Avila, a second-round pick from Texas Christian, could compete for a starting role during training camp. Logan Bruss, the Rams’ top pick in 2021, also is expected to compete once he is fully recovered from a knee injury suffered in the second preseason game last season.
Bruss participated in a workout Monday but was held out Tuesday because of soreness, McVay said.
On edge: Michael Hoecht, a converted interior defensive lineman, is now the veteran leader of an edge-rushing position group that last season featured three of the team’s most physically imposing players in Leonard Floyd, Terrell Lewis and Justin Hollins.
The Rams released Hollins and Lewis during the season, and Floyd shortly after it ended. So rookies Byron Young and Nick Hampton are among those getting long looks.
Young secondary: Safety Jordan Fuller, a fourth-year pro, showed his experience when he intercepted a Stafford pass.
Fuller could lead a secondary that includes second-year safety Russ Yeast, second-year cornerbacks Cobie Durant and Derion Kendrick, and perhaps rookie nickel back Tre Tomlinson. Third-year cornerback Robert Rochell also is competing for a starting role in a secondary that saw the departures of cornerbacks Jalen Ramsey, Troy Hill and David Long and safeties Nick Scott and Taylor Rapp.
Kendrick started six games last season, the most in 2022 among returning players in the secondary.
Number changes: Kendrick is wearing jersey No. 1. Other changes: Yeast (2), receiver Tutu Atwell (5), Rochell (8).