Thomas to try to stay sharp

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - By Gary Klein gary.klein@la­times.com Twit­ter: @la­timesklein

For the first time since train­ing camp be­gan, Mike Thomas on Monday ran routes and caught passes with other re­ceivers.

The sec­ond-year pro showed the speed that boosts his chances of con­tribut­ing to the Rams’ new of­fense, and he said he was happy to be back on the field with team­mates.

But Thomas, who had been side­lined be­cause of a foot in­jury, will sit out the first four games of the reg­u­lar sea­son be­cause of a sus­pen­sion for vi­o­lat­ing the NFL’s pol­icy on per­for­mance-en­hanc­ing sub­stances. The sus­pen­sion was an­nounced in July, about two weeks be­fore train­ing camp be­gan.

“I just knew it was com­ing so I had to take full re­spon­si­bil­ity of it and learn from my mis­takes and move for­ward,” Thomas said.

Thomas de­clined to spec­ify the cir­cum­stances that led to his sus­pen­sion.

“I don’t want to talk about it be­cause it’s in the past al­ready,” he said. “Just got to watch what I take and be more re­spon­si­ble and be more ob­ser­vant and just learn from it.”

Thomas’ re­turn to the field gives quar­ter­back Jared Goff a po­ten­tial deep threat, at least for prac­tices and ex­hi­bi­tion games.

Tavon Austin and rookie Josh Reynolds, also re­garded as po­ten­tial deep threats, re­main side­lined be­cause of in­juries.

“You feel that ver­ti­cal speed that he has,” coach Sean McVay said of Thomas, a sixth-round draft pick last year. “That gives us a nice op­tion, an el­e­ment in our pass game and look­ing for­ward to just kind of pro­gress­ing and build­ing with him as we move to­wards the sea­son.”

McVay said Thomas would play in ex­hi­bi­tion games even though he will sit out reg­u­lar-sea­son games against the In­di­anapo­lis Colts, Wash­ing­ton Red­skins, San Fran­cisco 49ers and Dal­las Cow­boys.

“You still want to get him that work know­ing that he’s a part of our plans for the sea­son if things go the way that we an­tic­i­pate and get­ting him back Week 5,” McVay said. “So, it’s a del­i­cate bal­ance of mak­ing sure that he gets the work that he can, but you’re also mind­ful that you’re not go­ing to have him for the first part of the sea­son.”

Thomas caught only three passes but was a stand­out on spe­cial teams last sea­son.

Af­ter he was cited, Thomas said he was wor­ried about his sta­tus with the Rams. But he im­pressed McVay dur­ing off­sea­son or­ga­nized team ac­tiv­i­ties work­outs and mini­camps.

“In OTAs, I knew I was still go­ing through this thing, I just never let it get to me,” he said. “I still made plays dur­ing OTAs.

“I just couldn’t let it get to me men­tally be­cause … neg­a­tive stuff is go­ing to build on each other and then I was just go­ing to over­think stuff and lose my mind.”

Go to your corners

McVay said that “un­less some­thing changes,” cor­ner­back Kayvon Web­ster would start op­po­site Tru­maine John­son.

That’s no sur­prise, con­sid­er­ing Web­ster played for de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Wade Phillips with the Den­ver Bron­cos and has been work­ing with the first unit through off­sea­son work­outs and train­ing camp.

Web­ster played be­hind sev­eral Pro Bowl play­ers with the Bron­cos.

“He’s been a huge ad­di­tion to our sec­ondary,” McVay said, “and you look at he and Tru­maine John­son, they of­fer a nice pair at the cor­ner spot.

“I love the way that he works and he’s been a joy to be around.”

Web­ster was a spe­cial­teams cap­tain for the Bron­cos. As a starter on de­fense, his role on spe­cial teams could be smaller with the Rams.

McVay said spe­cial­teams co­or­di­na­tor John Fas­sel would “pick and choose his spots when to uti­lize him.”

Etc.

The Rams waived re­ceiver Bradley Mar­quez, who caught 16 passes and played on spe­cial teams the last two sea­sons. Mar­quez had not prac­ticed re­cently be­cause of a knee in­jury. … Goff con­nected with rookie re­ceiver Cooper Kupp ona 25-yard touch­down pass. … Backup quar­ter­back Sean Man­nion read a blitz and con­nected with run­ning back De’Mard Llorens .… Safety Cody Davis broke up a few plays and nar­rowly missed in­ter­cept­ing two passes. … The Rams are off Tues­day. They will hold a joint prac­tice with the Charg­ers on Wed­nes­day at 4:30 p.m. at UC Irvine. The work­out is open to the pub­lic.

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