Rams and positions to watch in preseason opener vs. Chargers

Rams wide receiver Tutu Atwell runs a play during practice.

Rams wide receiver Tutu Atwell’s comeback from injury begins in their preseason opener Saturday against the Chargers.

(Associated Press)

Receiver Van Jefferson’s status for the Sept. 8 opener against the Buffalo Bills is in doubt as he recovers from knee surgery, so Atwell’s development is of paramount importance for that game and beyond.

Atwell, a second-round draft pick last year, is coming off a disappointing rookie season that ended with shoulder surgery.

After working closely with Kupp during the offseason, Atwell showed during training camp the speed and ball-tracking ability that McVay and general manager Les Snead trumpeted after they surprisingly selected the diminutive Atwell high in the draft.

During practices at UC Irvine, Atwell made one or two plays on deep routes every workout. He also appeared to gain confidence as a kick returner.

“They brought me here for a reason, and that’s to take the top off and do whatever it takes on special teams,” Atwell said. “When my number is called, I have to show them they can rely on me.”

McVay said Atwell has matured since last year. Now he must show he can perform in games.

“It’s one thing to do it in practice, it’s another thing to do it in situations that really count,” McVay said. “So, want to see this stuff continue to translate.”

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