On the first day of Training Camp for the Los Angeles Rams both rookies and veterans are getting into the strenuous task of making the team. Both have prepared with OTA’s (Organized Team Activities) and mini-camp. On September 2 all teams will have to be down to their 53-man rosters for the regular season and then on September 10 the Rams will kick off their second season in Los Angeles at the Coliseum against the Indianapolis Colts.
Not all the veterans are in camp and available to play. All Star defensive end Aaron Donald is, at this time, a hold out. The team has exercised its option for this year and on Thursday General Manager Les Snead told the media Donald is a priority. “These are delicate situations. I think you have to respect Aaron and his side in that business move. It is really at that point all about respect. And yes, we would love for him to be here, we hope he is here, it would help if he is here, but if he decides not to then it is a thing that you have to respect from their group.”
On their 2016 number one pick, quarterback Jared Goff, Sneed said, “Hey, right now if there are 32 quarterbacks right now penciled in at starter, he is the only one that is 22 years old. So, I do think the experience he got last year coming in with a new offense – I think I said it yesterday, he definitely didn’t spend time trying to get better at golf if you look at the (American Century Celebrity Golf Championship) Tahoe scores. He has spent a lot of time trying to improve his trade in football and I think you will see him progress, continue to progress.”
Rookie Head Coach Sean McVay told the media, “I think any time that you start out at training camp, it’s all about developing a foundation and coming together as a team. That was really one of our main goals going throughout the offseason program. We felt like finishing up that Phase Three with the OTAs and minicamp, we were able to come together as a team. Now it’s picking up where we left off and you hear me say it over and over again, it’s about that daily improvement and that daily excellence where we’ve got our standard approach in our preparation. If we do that, we feel like we’ll make those incremental improvements every single day that will lead to good things when those games come around on Sundays.”
On his top two offensive players, QB Goff and running back Todd Gurley, Coach McVay was a bit coy with the media about Goff and enthusiastic about Gurley. Of Goff, McVay said, “I think he’s showing really encouraging things, when you just go back to college and evaluate some of his best throws that he’s made. Really it’s about doing it consistently down-in and down-out.”
For Gurley: “He’s one of our most important players and we have a plan in place down the road where if he’s getting a lot of work we might take a day where we pull off some of his reps just to make sure that by September 10 he’s at his best. But I think having him out there, getting that work – especially with some of the things we envision the way that we want to utilize him moving forward. He’s going to practice and he’s going to be a big part of what we’re doing. It’s not like he’s only going to practice half the time.”
Rookie wide receiver Cooper Krupp has been projected as a starter, but McVay said that wasn’t chiseled in stone. “What Cooper [did] throughout the course of the offseason program, dictated being put in that role. Nothing was given to him, but he showed up day in and day out. He was a reliable and dependable option.”
Rookie tight end Gerald Everett started a bit of controversy when he said the Rams tight ends might be as good as or better than the of the Washington Redskins. McCoy responded, saying Vernon Davis and Jordan Reed were the standard in the game. “We’re very confident in Gerald and I can appreciate his confidence. I’ll tell you this, if they are better than those guys we’ll be in good shape the year.”
On the defensive side they are still waiting to see when Donald gets into camp. The situation with Trumaine Johnson has changed things with the Rams. Before last season he was designated a “franchise player” but this season he didn’t show up for OTA’s, which are voluntary. The question of whether he will be given a contract extension or not is up in the air, but GM Sneed said Johnson will play this season and is guaranteed over $16 million.
Wade Phillips is the new Defensive Coordinator and the team is excited about what he brings to the Rams. On Friday outside linebacker Connor Barwin told the media, “Wade wants to make sure that everyone knows exactly what they are doing. Wade doesn’t allow people to make mistakes and he will become very frustrated with you if you do not learn that through training camp, which I learned and everyone is going to learn.” He added, “Wade has been around for a long time, obviously. He knows what camp is like and part of that is having fun and getting to know the guys better as well.”
Fans will be able to attend many of the team’s training camp practices at UC-Irvine. Here is information for people looking to visit the Rams’ Training camp.
Top photo by Claudia Gestro
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