– Although it hasn’t been but a few months or so, it seems like it’s been much longer but the Rams – at least the junior version of them – were back on the field Friday afternoon for the first on field practice session of this weekend’s rookie minicamp.
– Scheduled to appear were 56 rookies, 7 draft picks, 22 undrafted free agents and 27 tryout players.
– Of course, there were a couple of notable adjustments to that list on Friday afternoon.
– Running back Zac Stacy, the team’s fifth-round pick out of Vanderbilt will not arrive until late afternoon tomorrow. He’s got one of the best excuses of all, though: he’s graduating from one of the nation’s finest academic institutes. No worries, though, he’ll be here soon enough.
– As expected OL Barrett Jones, the fourth-round pick out of Alabama, is not participating this week as he still recovers from a foot injury. Coach Jeff Fisher said he’ll continue to participate in meetings and absorbing the playbook as he works on his physical rehab. The same goes for undrafted free agent RB Benjamin Cunningham from Middle Tennessee State. He’s still coming back from a left knee injury.
– Everyone else was present and accounted for.
– Fisher made it clear after practice that this weekend is a bit different because you have two groups: the players that are signed and set to be here for camp and the tryout players. So the goal is to get everyone some work in the classroom and with the playbook and then see how they translate that work to the field. It’s a key part in the evaluation. But with roster spots still available, Fisher said it’s likely the Rams will sign their share of tryout players to the 90-man roster.
– In an effort to help differentiate the players, there was some trickery with jersey numbers. For instance, there’s a tryout DT wearing No. 8 and a tryout WR wearing No. 21. Basically, the idea was to allow for the tryout players to be more easily identified for their evaluations.
– On the field, most of the work done Friday was individual before a session of 7 on 7 at the end.
– After some rainfall this afternoon, the Rams dealt with a slippery field but there were some nice moments for a few players.
– Fisher noted that first-round pick LB Alec Ogletree picked off a pass in his very first snap in one on one drills against tight ends. Ogletree looked like the athlete everyone expected and it appears he’s going to get his first look at this level at SLB.
– Rookie WRs Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey also came as advertised, flashing the slippery route running skills and speed you’d expect. This is their first practice so it’s hard to try to glean too much from anything that occurs.
– Bailey was asked why he opted to wear No. 12, if it was something of a plan he had to be sequential with Austin. He said since he couldn’t wear his college number (3), he wanted to find something else he liked. He said he spoke to Jets QB and his WVU QB Geno Smith and when Smith informed him that he wouldn’t be able to wear his college number (12) in New York, Bailey told him he’d hold it down for him in St. Louis.
– I’ll have more on S Cody Davis of Texas Tech this weekend but had a good conversation with the talented free safety. Asked why he wasn’t drafted, Davis said maybe he’s too “bland” but wasn’t really sure why his college production and workout numbers (he ran a 4.37 40-yard dash at the Houston regional combine) wasn’t enough. He said he had a number of offers to play for various teams but opted for the place he felt like he could potentially win a spot.
– Davis also discussed his blog, which can be found at www.thestudentofthegame.blogspot.com . He said he’s not passionate about writing but wanted to give fans a perspective from the player. For what it’s worth, he apologizes for his infrequent posting and promises to do better. Also, for the record, while Davis says he’s “bland,” I’d argue that a 4.37 40 isn’t bland and neither is a guy with a blog featuring pictures of he and his wife with the likes of Snoop Dogg (Lion?) and Frank Caliendo. Check it out if you get a chance.
– Another interesting member of the rookie class is local product CB Robert Steeples. Steeples is from St. Louis and spent a chunk of his college career at Mizzou. He grew up a huge Rams fan and noted that he always wanted to be a cornerback so his favorite Ram when he was a kid wasn’t the usual Faulk or Warner or Bruce. Instead, he was a big fan of CB Todd Lyght. Will have more on him tomorrow also but he noted that before the draft he and his agent made it a point to make a list of the 15 teams where he’d fit the best and have a chance to make the roster. The No. 1 choice? St. Louis.
– Ray Ray Armstrong is working exclusively at weakside linebacker here and said he believes the transition will be relatively easy. He played some LB in high school and said playing there isn’t much different from working as an in the box type of safety. He said what happened in the past is no longer a worry of his and he’s focusing on doing what’s necessary to make the roster.
– For the record, the two players serving as the quarterbacks this weekend are both tryout players: Mitchell Gale of Abilene Christian and Timothy Jenkins of Fort Lewis.
– Rams WR Nick Johnson attended practice for awhile but he’s not participating. Instead, he’s here to support his fellow Henderson State Reddies brethren. The Rams actually have four players from Henderson State here on a tryout basis. That quartet is hoping to join Johnson on the active roster. Johnson came in as an undrafted rookie last year and then spent the year on the practice squad.
– Off to write for tonight. Plenty more on the way. Thanks for reading.
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