THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Josh Reynolds prepares every week as if he is a starter.
With Cooper Kupp not expected to play against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday because of a knee injury, Reynolds will finally get to take his mindset literally.
“If you practice like you’re a starter or prepare like you’re a starter, you know, you’re pretty much a starter,” Reynolds said Wednesday.
“You know everything. You know your assignments. You know what you’re supposed to do, and that’s like 95 percent of offense. If you know what you are doing then you’ll be pretty good.”
In his second season out of Texas A&M, Reynolds proved his worth as a reserve against Seattle in Week 5 when Kupp got a concussion late in the second quarter. Reynolds had two receptions for 39 yards and one carry for 10 yards, all on three consecutive plays during Los Angeles’ first possession of the third quarter.
When quarterback Jared Goff called the fly sweep, Reynolds was still tired from making his first catches of the season. But the whole sequence confirmed that Reynolds was capable of playing without a drop-off behind the three starters in Kupp, Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods.
“I kind of just chuckled and was like, `Yeah, we’re going to be fine,” running back Todd Gurley said.
For Reynolds, who had played just nine of the Rams’ 267 offensive snaps through the first five games, the quick introduction got him right in the flow of the game.
“I wasn’t used to three plays in a row like that from being a backup kind of guy,” Reynolds said. “But definitely being able to go in there and get those catches, it builds some confidence for me leading through the rest of the game and it helped a lot.”
Reynolds was pressed back into action when Kupp sprained his knee at Denver on Sunday, though he did not make as much of an impact as the previous week. He had one reception for a 2-yard loss and had another pass hit him in the facemask, bouncing up in the air and being intercepted.
It was only the sixth turnover of the season for the Rams, something Reynolds credits to Goff’s timing and the overall rhythm of the offense. He is still getting used to it after playing nearly 60 percent of snaps the past two games.
Still, Reynolds has made substantial strides in his overall understanding of coach Sean McVay’s offense.
“I’m able to work things out,” Reynolds said. “I’m feeling a lot more comfortable with the offense and knowing my assignments, so it definitely slows the game down for me.”
The difference will be on display this week, as McVay effectively ruled out Kupp from the Rams’ third straight road game.
To add depth at receiver, the Rams signed free agent Nick Williams on Tuesday. Williams has familiarity with some of the terminology and schemes McVay uses after playing in Washington, Atlanta and Tennessee. Williams most recently worked with former Rams offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur in a stint with the Titans earlier this season.
The addition of Williams became even more important as Reynolds was limited during Wednesday’s walkthrough because of a hand injury. Despite leaving the locker room with his hand wrapped in ice, Reynolds was looking ahead to a possible matchup with 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman.
“He’s an elite athlete, but at the same time I’m a player,” Reynolds said. “We’re going to have to compete. I’m not starstruck.”
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