– The Rams just wrapped up a two-plus hour Thursday evening session in nice, cool weather with overcast skies. The timing of the break in weather couldn’t have come at a better time as the team went to pads for the first time this training camp…sort of.
– The Rams did have full shoulder pads and uppers on but wore shorts on the bottom with no pads. It’s unlikely the leg pads and pants will come out until the team’s scrimmage on Saturday at the Edward Jones Dome.
– As expected, the addition of pads made things more physical and as such, created some intensity and a little bit of chippiness.
– Near the end of team drills in red zone work, LB Jo-Lonn Dunbar dropped TE Lance Kendricks and RB Steven Jackson (twice in his case) right at or after the whistle. After the first time Jackson went down, G Harvey Dahl came over to investigate but Jackson seemed unfazed by it so Dahl let it slide. The second time, Jackson again didn’t seem too upset but Dahl made a more emphatic point to Dunbar that his running back was going to be protected.
– Likewise, a small exchange took place between T Barry Richardson and DEs Eugene Sims and William Hayes that had to be broken up.
– Now, these exchanges never got out of hand and didn’t turn too physical but it was clear these guys were ready to get back to business after eight months without full contact. Coach Jeff Fisher said he was OK with the physical nature of practice so long as it never carried over to games. He wants his teams to be physical but he doesn’t want silly penalties. Still, he appreciated his guys protecting each other.
– On the injury front, the Rams have a number of guys on the verge of returning from soft tissue tightness (hamstrings, etc) that did individual drills but did not participate in the team portion of practice. That list includes WR Danario Alexander, CB Kendric Burney and CB Josh Gordy.
– S Darian Stewart did nothing as he too is dealing with hamstring tightness.
– CB Jerome Murphy also did not practice. Fisher said he was “sore” and indicated he’d be back sooner than later as well.
– C Scott Wells remains out of practice as he recovers from a knee injury.
– On the bright side, G Rokevious Watkins returned to action and got his first opportunity to participate in team drills. He worked with the third team at right guard.
– Got our first look at one on one pass rush drills. Nothing stood out in particular though DEs Chris Long and Robert Quinn continue to be a nightmare. That carried over to team drills as well.
– Bryan Mattison got his first work of camp at left guard as he and Quinn Ojinnaka took turns with the top unit. Mattison had some ups and downs as rookie DT Michael Brockers steamrollered him on one play.
– It’s not really a secret how the Rams offense intends to set the tone this year with the run game. The first three plays in team drills of the first padded practice were all run plays. And there were some big collisions. Jackson gave a nice blow to S Quintin Mikell on the second play.
– Later, Jackson introduced himself to rookie CB Janoris Jenkins with a stiff arm as he ran into the end zone. Jenkins played it off pretty well before adjusting his facemask and heading back to the huddle.
– Perhaps the crispest pass of the evening was from backup QB Kellen Clemens to WR Austin Pettis streaking down the seam. Clemens put it on the money and Pettis caught it in stride for what would have been a score.
– The Rams worked a lot of situational stuff as usual: red zone work, two minute drill, etc.
– With so many moving parts, it’s been hard for the offensive line to find a rhythm in the opening days of camp. That became more evident with the pads on as the Rams defensive line continues to get consistent pressure on the quarterback.
– RB Isaiah Pead continues to look good and looked especially sharp in the one on one passing drills matched up against linebackers. Those are the matchups the Rams will seek out for Pead a lot in his rookie season.
– S Craig Dahl took the reps with the first team at safety once again with Stewart out but Fisher made it clear that he’s going to try different combinations on the back end. Not only are Stewart and Dahl rotating but Fisher said they’ll look at their guys at different positions as well, inter changing between free and strong safety.
– CB Cortland Finnegan loves to hit.
– The Rams are back at it tomorrow with a 3:30 practice that is free and open to the public.
– And don’t forget, Saturday is the first ever Fan Fest at the Edward Jones Dome. GM Les Snead will address the crowd at about noon and the scrimmage will kick off at 12:30 and go for two hours before a post-scrimmage autograph session.
– As always, thanks for reading and we’ll be back with more tomorrow.
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