IRVINE, Calif. — The biggest news of the last two days of Rams training camp was the lack of Mathew Stafford under center. Wednesday he didn’t throw a ball in any organized activities. Thursday Stafford warmed up and even went through some plays in 7-on-7 drills. Stafford looked accurate and comfortable, but John Wolford would lead the 1st team offense for all the 11-on-11 sessions. Stafford’s last throw at Rams training camp was a bomb pass for around 50-yards to Tutu Atwell. There was no indication that Stafford tweaked or aggravated his elbow, but that was it.
As far as Wolford goes there is plenty of upsides, but he is not Stafford. The accuracy and poise are not the same.
Sean McVay addressed the elbow pain issue in his presser. He called it “a tricky deal” and “..a little bit abnormal for a quarterback. You know some of this stuff is things that MLB pitchers deal with and so it is something that we’re kind of learning about on the fly.”
It is hard to imagine Stafford throwing the ball much while they go through the learning process. Most likely not till they get back to HQ in Thousand Oaks.
Stafford didn’t throw the ball at all during spring practices. A process that Stafford didn’t care for at all. And for a good reason, a lot of new players will be starting for the Rams this season and more reps mean better chemistry. Rams training camp is the ideal time to iron it all out with those players. Joe Noteboom, a new right guard, Cam Akers (more or less) Allen Robinson, and the committee of receivers that will fill in for Van Jefferson while he recovers from surgery.
Now, no one pull the fire alarm. Stafford still has plenty of time to heal. There is more than a month before week one. Time lost at training camp isn’t ideal, but also not the end of the world. I suggest taking a few deep breaths and waiting for details to emerge.
Wide Receivers At Rams Training Camp
That committee of receivers was in heavy rotation at Thursday’s Rams training camp. Cooper Kupp took a veteran day off and Allen Robinson had a very limited day. Another notable injury was a groin injury to Jacob Harris that will keep him out of the next few weeks. Atwell had the best day of depth receivers. He has made several impressive catches. He has shown improvement with his hands and in his route running. Looking very clean coming in and out of breaks.
One thing that has also impressed is his body control. He has had to do a bit of contorting to catch some of the passes he has caught over the last few days. Atwell is looking more and more like a complete receiver every day at Rams training camp
Atwell also made a case that he is tough enough to compete with the NFL’s bigger players. On a short out route, Atwell was being covered by Bobby Wagner. With Wagner draped on him, Atwell got his hands on the ball. Wagner laid a hit on Atwell. Sure, it was a training camp-appropriate hit, but Atwell held on to the ball. No small feat.
Ben Skowronek continues to look like the best option to fill in for Jefferson. He shows the polish of playing time that the rest of the receivers don’t have, specifically because he was healthy enough o contribute last season.
Skowronek had a relatively quiet few days but made a huge catch at the back of the end zone during the 11-on-11s. There were several defensive backs in his vicinity including one pursuing from his stern and from his bow. Both defenders were looking to make a big pass break up. The three bodies collided, but Skowronek had the ball in his hands at the end of the play. He even appeared to take a shot to the head. It took him a few seconds, but he popped up unscathed.
Brandon Powell hasn’t blown up on offense, but he is making his case at Rams training camp as a weapon on the offense. His target share increases with each passing day.
Coming out of spring practices I expected to hear more Lance McCutcheon buzz, but that hasn’t been the case. Although to be fair, as an undrafted free agent, those were high expectations. With Harris out, McCutcheon has a chance to make a mark and I would love to see that. He did make an impressive catch, hanging on to a ball with a defender grasping for the ball as well.
Cornerbacks At Rams Training Camp
Each day a particular cornerback seems to get peppered at Rams training camp. Wednesday it was Derion Kendrick and Thursday it was David Long Jr. Kendrick’s assignment was often Allen Robinson. Kendrick proved to be scrappy and edgy. This is exactly what you want to see from a rookie going up against a proven veteran. Kendrick wasn’t flawless but put himself in good positions most of the time.
Long’s duties moved him all over the field. He also held up well covering a variety of receivers. Long is in the final year of his rookie contract and has a lot of young competition for his roster spot. Every rep is a prove-it rep for Long.
DeCobie Durant leads the team in interceptions. He has picked off every quarterback on the field. Robert Rochell has made a few as well. The competition for outside corner is certainly white hot and I will continue to keep an eye on the group for more news.
Defensive back Tyler Hall made an incredible leaping interception on Wednesday.
Other News From Rams Training Camp
Christian Rozeboom has put together a nice camp so far. He has definitely added a degree of athleticism as well as improved in coverage.