The Los Angeles Rams could be in for a rare, intriguing battle at tight end post 2023 training camp.
The reason? Head coach Sean McVay revealed to reporters on Thursday, August 17 that there’s one veteran who’s put together the kind of offseason that’s made him one of the bright spots on the Rams.
Who Does Sean McVay Feel Good About?
Speaking after the Rams’ second, and final, joint practice with the Las Vegas Raiders ahead of their preseason showdown on Saturday, August 19 at SoFi Stadium, McVay shared how he’s been impressed with fourth-year tight end Brycen Hopkins — the same Hopkins who is now in a room with newcomer Hunter Long via trade and still has veteran Tyler Higbee.
“I feel great about Brycen Hopkins. I think he’s had an excellent camp,” McVay said to the L.A. media in Thousand Oaks.
McVay has been so impressed, Hopkins earned this strong label from his head coach.
“If you said, ‘What’s one of the bright spots of training camp?’ Brycen Hopkins is one of the guys that comes to mind right away for me. I think he’s done an excellent job,” McVay said.
That’s huge praise — and much needed — for the veteran tight end for a multitude of reasons.
Hopkins Facing Critical Season Ahead
For Hopkins, his ascension at training camp and the carry over next to Cal Lutheran bodes greatly for him for a number of reasons.
To start, he’s entering the final year of his rookie contract. Hopkins is due to make $1,010,000 with his base salary per Spotrac. He signed a four-year, $3,948,132 deal when the Rams drafted him out of Purdue in the fourth round.
Secondly, again the TE room has a new addition in the former Miami Dolphin Long — who came to the “Rams House” as part of the Jalen Ramsey trade in March. Now, along with “Big Rig Higs,” the Rams have rare renewed competition in the TE room with Hopkins starting to put together a strong offseason.
Third, the Rams have lately hit teams with more 12 personnel groupings…meaning they’ve run multiple tight ends on the field. In the case of Hopkins, he could be the other TE option next to Higbee as he’s done for 24 games total with the Rams. But, Long could still push to become TE2 for this offense.
Fourth and final aspect, his new offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur once coached George Kittle as passing game coordinator from 2017 to 2020. And that includes being a part of the tight end’s Pro Bowl seasons of 2018 and 2019. Last season with this Jets, LaFleur coached Tyler Conklin to a 58-catch, 552-yard season with three touchdowns in his debut with New York.
Rams Sending Relief to Maui
Outside of Hopkins, McVay helped deliver another special announcement: Aid heading toward Maui following the devastation of the wildfires engulfing the Hawaiian island.
The Rams announced that they’re joining every L.A. team in donating $450,000 to the American Red Cross, which will help aid people effected by the fires.
Also, the Rams announced they’ll be wearing special shirts for Saturday’s game versus the Raiders.