THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) — The Los Angeles Rams decided not to practice outdoors Wednesday due to poor air quality around their training complex in Ventura County, where a wildfire has burned more than 65,000 acres.
The Rams (9-3) intend to work out on their fields as normal Thursday while they prepare for their showdown with the Philadelphia Eagles (10-2) at the Coliseum this weekend.
The Rams’ complex is about 25 miles from the blaze. The resulting smoke caused enough problems in air quality to persuade coach Sean McVay to skip practice in favor of a walk-through indoors at nearby Cal Lutheran University, even though the air improved markedly between Tuesday and Wednesday.
“We had really a mental approach (to practice), as far as above the neck, and this time in the year it actually served us well,” McVay said. “We got a lot of good work in, got more reps than we would have otherwise than when you just do your walk-through and your normal practice. Where we’re at, it actually worked out as a benefit to us.”
Quarterback Jared Goff compared the off-field session to the strategy used by McVay during the Rams’ short week of preparation for a Thursday night game at San Francisco in September.
“It actually ended up working out really well,” Goff said. “Just getting a chance to kind of get off of our feet a little bit and get all our mental work in, and get probably a lot more reps than we would have live reps.”
The Rams and their staff don’t have homes affected by the Ventura County fire, but they’re still eager to help out their neighbors.
Punter Johnny Hekker jumped into action during the players’ day off Tuesday when he heard about a Red Cross shelter at the Ventura County Fairgrounds in need of supplies. Hekker and his wife, Makayla, who…