Photo by Stella Horton
As always, the first open practice of RamsCamp is an event of our own making. There are footballs, and football players, but this is not Football. Players were in shorts and shells, and spent most of the first hour of the day stretching and working in position groups on athletic drills. Watching a practice is somewhat like watching a clockmaker wind a clock ... it's just daily business.
As clockmakers go, Jeff Fisher is clearly friendly with having lots of moving parts going at once. There is always action happening on multiple fields in any given practice, but even among position groups Fisher's Rams were operating in multiples. When the quarterbacks were asked to work on their dropbacks, for example, they all took snaps and did their drops simultaneously.
At times it was chaotic for the casual fan, but it gives the maximum number of players the maximum number of reps, and coaches have videotape to lean on afterwards for confirmation of their evaluations.
Caveat: I didn't get to stick around long enough to see 11-on-11s, but there will be other practices on other days where I can get some of those observations in. Here's a quick synopsis of what I noticed:
- Janoris Jenkins is smooth as silk. Jenkins might be the best natural runner on the team, which is doubly impressive since he did most of his work on the backpedal. I made the comment on Twitter that Jenkins looks like Mardy Gilyard in reverse - he has the same lightness of foot, the same swivel in his hips. But he has better hands than Mardy, and hopefully a better NFL head as well.
- Brian Quick looks great in a straight line. The receivers all put in work in various combinations during 7-on-7 drills, with Greg Salas (playing mostly on the outside) and Danny Amendola making a number of good catches. Quick was matched up against Bradley Fletcher and Trumaine Johnson, among other corners, and showed a nice amount of wiggle in his early jumps. However, when the wideouts were running a four-corners drill, making a series of 90-degree cuts, Quick was noticeably unquick making his cuts. (At least he was being precise.)
Given the number of passes that Bradford threw before the receiver had made his break, Quick's role in a timing-based offense might be limited early. But his red zone presence should be impressive right from the start, as long as Bradford's line can give him protection enough to hold the ball.
- Robert Turner, Quinn Ojinnaka getting early looks on the OL. Turner was filling in for the gimpy Scott Wells as the team's number one short-snapper, and Ojinnaka was getting a taste of life as a starter at left guard. From what I hear from folks who stuck around for the full 11-on-11s, the defensive line was well ahead of the offensive line, but that's not that surprising.
- Salas, Pettis, Bradley Fletcher all ran without a hitch - or a brace. I don't know if we saw game-speed from any of the three today, but these Rams returning from the MASH unit all looked healthy. Which is a plus on the first day.