"I did a little bit," quarterback Jared Goff said when asked if he noticed Watkins' first head-turning catch this week, via the OC Register. "You try not to, but I did kind of turn around, like, 'Everyone see that? All right.' It was a good catch and hopefully something that won't be quite a surprise any more."
Watkins was brought in to be the No. 1 target on a team riddled with second- and third-fiddles. Through his first three days of practice, the team likes the way the former first-round pick is opening the offense.
"When the ball is in his hands you can feel his speed and his juice down the field," coach Sean McVay said Wednesday. "I thought it was good to get him out here. We were comfortable with the things we were asking him to do, so it was great to have Sammy out there and get him in the mix."
Speaking to Adam Schein on SiriusXM's Mad Dog Sports Radio on Thursday, McVay emphasized what Watkins is capable of bringing to the Rams -- as long as he stays on the field.
"You certainly can see why he's the special talent that he is," McVay said. "He has great aggressive hands, kinda effortlessly runs in and out of stuff, and I think the more comfortable that he gets with some of the things that we're asking him to do, the better that he'll be.
"But there's no doubt about it, when he's healthy -- and that's going to be our goal is to try and put him in a place where we give him the best opportunity to stay healthy and stay available -- this is a special player and we have big expectations for Sammy."
The plan is for Watkins to play in Saturday's night's preseason game against the Oakland Raiders. Rams starters are expected to see about a quarter of action after playing sparingly last week. Goff has worked to get his newest weapon up to speed in time.
"The last couple days I've just been trying to speak some plays to him, and have him verbalize them for me and have him spit back what he does," Goff said of Watkins. "He's been sharp, man. He's been sharper than I expected, and that's not saying anything negative about him. For him to be in a new system, he's been on it. He's been sharp and it's been a pleasant surprise."
The Rams hope that "surprise" turns into a big-play machine, opening the rest of the offense for Goff and the running game.