– In what turned out to be a busy, whirlwind day at ContinuityX Training Center, the Rams made it through their first official, full squad training camp workout without any issues. In front of a crowd estimated at about 1,600 fans, the Rams went through about a two-plus hour practice before calling it a day.
– In case you missed it earlier, the Rams struck an agreement with DE Chris Long on a four-year extension. The extension kicks in for the 2013 season and takes Long through the 2016 season. I’ll have a full story on Long on the front page later this evening with quotes.
– Interestingly enough, Rams coach Jeff Fisher acknowledged the Rams are working on “more” deals. He was undoubtedly referring to contract talks with MLB James Laurinaitis. Don’t be shocked if that’s done sooner than later.
– As for the happenings on the field, let’s get down to business:
– On the injury front, the Rams did not have the services of WR Danario Alexander (hamstring), RB Daryl Richardson (hamstring), C Scott Wells (knee) and G Rokevious Watkins (conditioning). Fisher indicated that Alexander, Richardson and Watkins would be back in short order. The team will be more cautious with Wells, as expected.
– Otherwise, the Rams turned out all 89 players on the roster with 85 participating in practice and seemed to make it through the workout just fine.
– Let’s start by saying again the Rams are not yet in full pads – that happens Wednesday when the league rules first allow – so any of the following observations need a grain of salt but there were some really positive things out there today.
– First, this was as dialed in as QB Sam Bradford has been in this regime. He was flat out spinning the rock in team drills and seven on seven. Several of his throws drew oohs and aahs from his teammates and exasperated looks and reactions from defenders. There is something to be said for having a full offseason and it’s clear Bradford’s comfort level in this offense is miles ahead of where it was at this time last year in Josh McDaniels’ offense with no offseason program.
– RB Steven Jackson has dropped some weight and is down to about 234 pounds. The guy is always in great shape but said he wanted to be in even better shape than normal this year so he can handle the large workload that is inevitably coming his way. He’s pleased about the signing of FB Ovie Mughelli as well, not that that’s a surprise.
– The Rams were rotating receivers regularly throughout the practice so it was hard to get a read on anything but they did give a handful of players opportunities. Most often, it was Brandon Gibson, Steve Smith and Danny Amendola in three receiver sets. But there were combinations that included Greg Salas often as well as Brian Quick, Chris Givens and Austin Pettis.
– Gibson did what he always does in camp and got off to a good start with some impressive catches in team drills.
– Quinn Ojinnaka got first crack at left guard.
– On defense, the Rams used Jo-Lonn Dunbar at WLB and Mario Haggan at SLB. Nothing is set in stone, obviously but that’s how things started. In nickel packages, the Rams had Bradley Fletcher and Janoris Jenkins on the outside with Cortland Finnegan in the slot. It’s Finnegan and Jenkins in the base. Craig Dahl got the work with the top defense at safety alongside Quintin Mikell.
– Want a (way too) early sleeper to watch when the pads come on? Try DT Matt Conrath. There’s an opening for a fourth defensive tackle, if not a fifth.
– Rookie K Greg Zuerlein drew some attention for some of his thunderous boots, including a number that almost hit the camera man perched on the top of the lift taping practice behind the goal posts.
– I’ll have more on new FB Ovie Mughelli this week but let’s just say he’s a character who was a lot of fun to talk to. He also believes he has a lot of football left and has a great relationship with Jackson.
– On Laurinaitis, he says he has lost weight down to about 245 pounds, closer to what he played at in college in an effort to, as he says, be able to “run all day.” There are a lot more elements of the Cover 2 defense of past years and Laurinaitis will have to do more deep coverage work. The lost weight is in anticipation of that. Like Mughelli, I’ll have more on Laurinaitis in the next couple of days. He says he’s not worried about his contract and made it a point that today is “Chris’ day.”
– As for the structure of practice, it was what we’ve come to expect froma Fisher practice. A lot of moving around, a lot of exchanging reps and substituting but most of that work went to the first and second units. In an effort to ensure everyone is getting some reps, Fisher had an extra 20 minute session with the rookies at the end of practice.
– One special guest in the house today: Mizzou WR T.J. Moe. As a complete Mizzou homer, it was good to see Moe in the house. He was a big hit with the media at the SEC Media Days a couple weeks ago for his colorful quotes but make no mistake, the kid can play. An excellent slot receiver in that offense.
– That’ll do it for today. Thanks as always for reading and be sure to check the front of the site for a pair of story updates later this evening.
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