Today was the first Rams practice in pads of training camp. It was also the first Rams training camp in front of their eager and adoring fans. The Rams nation came out in droves to catch a glimpse of the Super Bowl champs. And they were ready to cheer. Cooper Kupp snags a pass in drills. Cheers. Jalen Ramsey warms up on the sideline. Cheers. Aaron Donald steps on the practice field. The crowd goes wild!
It’s quite apparent that LA’s fans are ready for some football. More Rams football specifically. Winning a championship will do that to a fan base. Winning the first football championship in LA in nearly 4 decades means this is the first release of far too much pent-up fandom. If this is any indication of the season ahead the energy will spill over into the season.
This may be the first year the Rams make SoFi stadium truly the Rams house.
Rams Practice Day 5 Recap
There were fewer cheers coming from Sean McVay at his post-Rams practice presser. He highlighted the number of penalties called by the official. Specifically pre-snap penalties. Among the other firsts of the day, the Rams also had an NFL officiating crew, headed by Shawn Hochuli, call the team periods. Coach McVay didn’t cut the team any slack because it was the first padded Rams practice.
He noted his expectations as much higher than that, saying “There was enough stuff that I expect us just to be a sharper overall outfit and I trust that tomorrow will be a step in the right direction.”
It wasn’t all chiding from the head coach. He took a minute to recognize Decobie Durant’s performance at today’s Rams practice, which was the easy standout of the day. Durant intercepted two passes. One was a pass from Matthew Stafford while he was in man coverage against Cooper Kupp. No small feat in itself for a rookie cornerback, much less a seasoned vet. The second came off a pass from John Wolford. On this one, Durant read the play and slid underneath to come up with the turnover. To assuage any fears, Stafford made up for his interception on the next series by connecting with Kupp on the same play.
Those are two very different ways to intercept a pass. One shows his coverage ability and athleticism another shows his ability to read a quarterback and jump the play.
Nick Scott also came up with a pass break-up while covering Kupp during Rams Practice. When asked about the play in the post-practice press conference Jordan Fuller’s face lit up with a smile. “That’s my guy, he remarked.”
Greg Gaines came up with the other interception of the day while the team practiced red zone looks. Gaines scores two points on that pick because he also tipped the pass and then got into position to haul it in.
Rams Practice Day 5 Recap Continued
Both McVay and Jordan Fuller were asked questions about Bobby Wagner’s effect on the team thus far. McVay said he “brings clarity” to the defense and Fuller said he’s a great player, but “a better teammate.” The one consistent thing that Ram’s personnel remark on when it comes to Wagner’s on-the-field prowess is his efficiency of movement and speed (or lack thereof) that the game moves at for him.
Another rookie at Rams practice that seems to be turning heads is Daniel Hardy. He started the day by making Wolford scramble out of the pocket and ended it by taking reps with the first team defense. Over the summer, Hardy impressed the world by jumping out of a pool. The Rams love insane athletes, especially at edge rusher, and Hardy is just that. That was on display on solid ground today.
A few second-year players I had my eye on were Jacob Harris and Tutu Atwell. Last season their camps were polar opposites. Harris made splash plays like he was ringing a bell and Atwell, well, did not. Harris continues to impress. Atwell had a quiet day, but also didn’t make any mistakes or drop catchable passes. This is an improvement over last year. Although, both players’ role on the team remains far from defined.
Atwell was also one of three players receiving punts. The others were Robert Rochell and Brandon Powell. He has been the only real returner that Rams have fielded in recent years. But with the dearth of pass-catching talent on the roster (Odell Beckham, maybe, too) it’s hard to figure how the Rams will fit him onto the depth chart. Powell took reps with the second team and caught a few passes.
The one thing that stands out about him on offense is how he moves in space. It’s one of the things that makes him a good returner. He has a poor man’s Deebo Samuel feel when he moves the ball upfield. If he can find a way to become a viable offensive threat, he could secure a roster spot.
Coleman Shelton and Logan Bruss rotated in at first-team right guard. As of spring practices, that position is open and up for competition. It appears that is still the case. Andrew Whitworth was in attendance at the Rams practice and worked with Bruss for a good amount of time.
Kyren Williams worked on the sidelines at Rams practice while he recovers from a broken foot. Most of the work consisted of cutting drills that put stress on the foot. He ran them at about half speed. He is now walking without a boot or a crutch.
Jalen Ramsey also worked on the sidelines and seemed to become rather fond of having more time to coach up the secondary.
Stay tuned for more Training Camp Recaps in the near future!