– Under an overcast sky with more cool temperatures, the Rams put on the full pads for the first time as a full squad on Monday afternoon and went through another two-hour or so workout.
“We actually introduced them yesterday during the special teams session and it was good,” coach Jeff Fisher said. “As is always the case with the first day of pads, you look and your team just slows down. You are running around fast with great team speed without pads and you put the pads on…it’s a process. Tomorrow is off and then we’ll pad Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday, four real good sessions this week. By Saturday hopefully they’ll feel pretty comfortable in them.”
– On the injury front, the Rams appear to be making some progress. OL Barrett Jones returned to action after a long recovery from a Lisfranc injury in his foot. Jones was cleared on Sunday after starting training camp on the non-football injury list. He got some work in at center and had a bit of rust, drawing some friendly catcalls from his team on one snap he sent sailing high and to the left.
– Regardless, it was good to get him back on the field according to Fisher.
“It’s a little different in that he’s been conditioning and he’s acclimated,” Fisher said. “It’s ironic that his first day of practice was in full pads but we wanted to get him back, it was nice to get back, he had no setbacks at all so he’s good to go.”
– The rest of the group of injured players, including TE Lance Kendricks, S Matt Daniels and DT Jermelle Cudjo did not participate again. Fisher did say that Daniels is close to a return as he continues to rehabilitate from a knee injury. Rookie OL Kevin Saia did not participate because of a foot injury and WR Andrew Helmick left practice with an injury.
– On the field, there was some pretty good action despite the play slowing down a bit with pads on.
– And, as is always the case with the pads, there were a few pretty big collisions. RB Isaiah Pead, who got a lot of work with the first team offense, had a couple of run ins with LB Alec Ogletree and at one point dropped the hammer on CB Janoris Jenkins in the open field. A more physical approach for Pead could serve him well, especially if he continues to be decisive as he was Monday.
– RB Zac Stacy also seemed to relish putting the pads on. He burst through the middle for a couple of nice runs and was stout in one on one pass protection drills against linebackers. Considering his running style, fully padded practices are right up his alley.
– The biggest collision of the day came on a completion to TE Cory Harkey down the middle of the field. Harkey took a shot from S T.J. McDonald but popped right back up. Undoubtedly, Harkey would have jumped up anyway but it couldn’t have hurt that it was former Trojan and a former Bruin colliding. No chance the Bruin will let the Trojan get the better of him and vice-versa.
– WR Tavon Austin had a couple of drops early but made up for it later on with some impressive catches, including a deep ball that was dropped just over the defense.
– OC Brian Schottenheimer talked to the media for a bit after practice, which we’ll have more on tomorrow, but one thing he pointed out that has been obvious in the first days of practice is just how difficult the Rams’ defensive line is making life for the offense. The defensive line has regularly created pressure on QB Sam Bradford and it’s made it hard for the offense to get in rhythm at times. Schottenheimer believes that can only help make the offense better as camp moves along.
– RT Rodger Saffold is continuing to make the transition from the left side but Schottenheimer said he’s noticed some growth since the spring, when he said Saffold was struggling a bit in making the move.
– Ogletree seemed particularly active and physical with the addition of the pads and drew praise from DC Tim Walton after the practice. Ogletree is still working with the first team defense and that doesn’t appear bound to change anytime soon.
– On the subject of linebackers, the Rams have a special guest in town in the form of former Tennessee LB and Fisher favorite Keith Bulluck. Bulluck spent nearly a decade playing for Fisher in Tennessee before calling it a career in 2010 with the Giants. According to NFL.com statistics, he finished his career with 1,069 tackles, 18 sacks, 14 forced fumbles and 21 interceptions. He earned All Pro honors three times.
– When the Rams drafted Ogletree in April, Fisher acknowledged the comparison between Ogletree and Bulluck, noting the athleticism and skill sets were quite similar. Fisher said Bulluck isn’t here specifically as a tutor to Ogletree but that Bulluck’s knowledge is certainly welcome for any members of his team.
“I’ve run into Keith several times since he retired and he got word to us that he would like to come out and visit so we invited him in,” Fisher said. “It’s good to see him. He’s doing well. he’s working toward a Masters degree right now, trying to decide what to do and I think he missed football so it’s a good opportunity to get to see him.
“Keith has got the kind of personality where I’m sure there will be some conversations. I think if Alec has followed our game, he’ll realize the kind of player Keith was.”
– The Rams will have the day off tomorrow, which works out well considering a forecast of rain before returning to practice on Wednesday. They will have padded, open practice on Wednesday at 3:30 and Thursday at 5:30. They’ll have another open practice (without full pads) on Friday at 3:30 before Saturday’s scrimmage which is set for 12:30 at the Edward Jones Dome and is open to all fans. For more information, check out the homepage for Rams FanFest.
– That’s all for today. As always, thanks for reading.
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