On occasion, the Los Angeles Rams will welcome some celebrity guests to their practices. However, their Wednesday, May 31 visitor would’ve been someone barred from visiting the Thousand Oaks practice site one year ago — but is now an L.A. resident.
Former division rival from the Arizona Cardinals Kliff Kingsbury was in attendance during the Rams’ latest OTAs session, first captured by the NFL Network’s Andrew Siciliano.
What Is Kliff Kingsbury Doing Now?
Kingsbury was once thought of as a possible Rams offensive coordinator candidate once Liam Coen went back to Lexington to return to coordinating the University of Kentucky offense.
Kingsbury became available following his firing from the Cards, which occurred a day after their season finale trouncing at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers. He ended up going 28-37-1 overall as head coach of the Cards with one postseason appearance…which was the NFC Wildcard smashing at the hands of the Rams during L.A’s march to Super Bowl 56.
Now, Kingsbury is in closer proximity to the Rams. He accepted a senior offensive analyst role under Lincoln Riley at USC on April 10, which brings the former Texas Tech head coach back to the college game.
“He’s going to be invaluable to have on the staff,” Riley told ESPN’s Pete Thamel following the decision to lure him in. “It was the right fit for him and us. He knows a number of the staff guys, there’s a familiarity and a comfort level there.”
Kingsbury is part of the “Air Raid” coaching tree that Riley is a part of, which was popularized by the late head coach Mike Leach.
Despite being a rival to the Rams, Kingsbury and head coach Sean McVay have maintained a friendship over the years. Perhaps Kingsbury will be swinging by Thousand Oaks more often now that he’s in the L.A. region.
Practice Notes: TuTu Atwell & Matthew Stafford Dazzle
With Cooper Kupp still absent from voluntary workouts due to expecting his third child with his wife, OTAs have served as an opportunity for other wideouts inside the “Rams House” to dazzle.
Tutu Atwell took that to heart — by taking the ball deep.
Captured by the Rams’ Twitter account during Wednesday’s session, Atwell got behind two Rams defenders for the long touchdown from the arm of Matthew Stafford:
Atwell is now in his third season with the Rams after being selected in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft. He also has a chance to solidify himself as a potential No. 2 WR with Allen Robinson off to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Reps Extended for 2022 Late Rounder
Cam Akers got his share of the backfield load under a cloudy sky. But Kyren Williams earned some significant reps.
Williams, a fifth-round find from the 2022 draft, earned a high number of snaps with the Rams’ first-team offense. That included their red zone work.
The Rams currently have Akers, Williams and last season’s late free agent pickup Ronnie Rivers splitting the bulk of the carries.
Rookie Impresses in Trenches Along With 2nd-Year Pro for Defense
Defensively, rookie Kobie Turner won over his coaches and teammates.
Twice, the 2023 third-rounder slipped past the guard and center for two stops behind the line of scrimmage. Both stops got a loud “Kobie” reaction from the defensive sidelines, including from defensive line coach Eric Henderson.
Also on defense, second-year cornerback Decobie Durant denied six facing Atwell in the red zone which brought out loud cheers from the Rams defense.
One more rookie got involved in getting the defense to roar gleefully. Undrafted rookie defensive back Jason Taylor II returned a pick-six that drew reverberating cheers next to Cal Lutheran.
Rams WR Signing Makes Debut
Wednesday was also the debut of the newest signing Tyler Johnson.
The now fourth-year wideout signed with the Rams nearly 24 hours prior to running routes with the team. Johnson was seen wearing No. 14 on the practice field.
Johnson earned limited reps in working with Stafford, Van Jefferson and the rest of the Rams’ first offense.
He comes over after a brief stop with the Houston Texans in 2022. However, NFL fans likely recall him as a security blanket type receiver for Tom Brady during the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Super Bowl 55 run.