The Rams were back in full pads for Day 9 of their training camp today after a light walk-thru practice to cap the weekend. Monday afternoon marked the team’s last day on field before they practice with the Chargers on Wednesday, in the second of two joint practices. Tomorrow will be a players day off.
When addressing the media after Sunday’s practice, head coach Sean McVay said he hoped the mental focus and light nature of the afternoon would translate into a high intensity practice today — and for the most part he got exactly what he wanted. Check out our top takeaways from Day 9:
1. The secondary continues to shine
In what is quickly becoming a familiar trend to this year’s training camp, the Rams’ secondary continued to be a bright spot on the defense with numerous pass deflections and almost picks.
Safety Cody Davis had two tipped passes throughout the day, skillfully reading the receiver’s routes and excelling in his man coverage. Rookie defensive back John Johnson also had a would-be pick, but was unable to hold on to the ball on a pass from quarterback Sean Mannion. Finally, after forcing an incomplete pass early on in the day, cornerback Mike Jordan was able to come up with an interception on the last play of the day. The whole defense huddled around Jordan congratulating him for his impressive grab.
After Friday’s practice, defensive coordinator Wade Phillips discussed the secondary’s improvement during camp, emphasizing its focus on giving up less points overall.
“We’ve still got to get some things done, but I’m pleased with where we are right now,” Phillips said. “Part of that is the passing game, stopping [and] slowing down the passing game. Nobody really stops that in this league, but, if you cut it down enough, you cut down on the number of points they score against you and that helps.”
Judging by today’s practice, Phillips’ technique seems to be working, as the secondary successfully challenged the offense on its passing game play after play.
2. The entire team amps up its energy
But the secondary was not the only position group to turn on the intensity in today’s practice. The entire team was in good spirits throughout the afternoon and the competition level was set high during each set of drills.
Throughout the last nine days of training camp, the Rams have moved on from simply learning the new systems to working more fully on their execution level and skillset. And by mastering the systems, McVay says they are able to give more energy and output when it comes to the various portions of practice.
“I think you’re seeing a lot of good, competitive work, really from top to bottom on our roster,” McVay said. “Now that we’ve gotten a little bit further into our installs, the nice thing is you can do a lot of unscripted work and kind of some situational stuff.”
On offense, wide receivers Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods along with tight ends Gerald Everett, Tyler Higbee and Temarrick Hemingway stood out with a number of solid receptions. While on defense, a variety of guys had some good looks throughout the day, including cornerbacks Kayvon Webster and Troy Hill.
“That’s the type of energy that you like to see from the team,” McVay added. “I think it raises the level of competition where there was some good back and forth.”
3. Wednesday’s joint practice with the Chargers
Monday’s practice also gave us a glimpse as to what we will see from the team on Wednesday.
In last Saturday’s practice at StubHub Center, we were able to get a really good look at how quarterback Jared Goff, along with the rest of his offensive line, would be able to handle themselves in a game-like situation. The line, led by veteran left tackle Andrew Whitworth, looked impressive holding its own for the majority of the reps, even when faced with Chargers’ defensive end Melvin Ingram.
— J.B. Long (@JB_Long) August 6, 2017
Goff also appeared to be comfortable controlling the offense as a leader, something he has continued to showcase throughout training camp.
However, going into Wednesday the offensive line will continue to experiment with some lineup changes. Although Rob Havenstein and Jamon Brown are listed as the projected starters at right tackle and right guard respectively, over the past two days the linemen have switched positions.
“We know that Rob has played productive tackle in this league in his career and I feel like Jamon has put some good stuff on tape at guard,” McVay said. “Really, if we feel like those guys do well, then we’re trying to just figure out what the best spot is for them and that’s what this opportunity offers.”
As for Wednesday’s practice as a whole, McVay has referred to the joint practice as an “invaluable opportunity” to line up against a team other than your own.
“I think we’re always striving to improve and I think the games and playing against other teams are your best measuring stick to see where you’re at,” McVay said. “Going against the Chargers again on Wednesday, I think we are striving to just focus on one day at a time and if we do that, we feel like those incremental gains will lead to good things.”
– Earlier today the Rams announced several changes to their active roster taking wide receiver Mike Thomas off of the PUP list and waiving wideout Bradley Marquez with an injury designation. For the full story click here.
– On the injury front, wide receivers Tavon Austin and Josh Reynolds remained on the sidelines during today’s practice alongside linebacker Samson Ebukam. Safety LaMarcus Joyner also did not participate in the day’s drills.
– Actor Ty Burrell was on hand to watch Monday’s practice from the sidelines. The Modern Family star is a well-known fan of the Rams.
– On the defensive line, defensive ends Louis Trinca-Pasat and Ethan Westbrooks continued to take snaps with the first team defense. Both are listed as projected starters in Saturday’s game and have worked well alongside tackle Michael Brockers.
– In Tuesday’s practice wideout Pharoh Cooper took reps as the primary kick returner.
– During the 11-on-11 portion of practice, Everett had a great play catching the ball amid heavy coverage for about a 10-yard gain.
– Running back De’Mard Llorens had a nice run towards the tail end of the day, finding his hole quickly and bringing it all the way down field to the end zone.
PLAY OF THE DAY
During the full team portion of practice, Goff hit Kupp in the end zone for today’s play of the day. Goff stepped back in the pocket and delivered a beautiful pass downfield to hit his receiver perfectly in the back left corner. Although Kupp was heavily guarded by two defenders he managed to successfully pull it in for the touchdown.
— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) August 7, 2017
This was the last of a series of great grabs by the receiver who seemed to be catching almost everything today. He is a projected starter on the offense and has shown tremendous growth and reliability at his position throughout training camp.
After practice McVay addressed the media to discuss how the team will be preparing for their preseason matchup against the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday. Catch up on his most interesting point from Day 9:
On his plan for how much work certain players will get in the first preseason game:
“When you go into training camp you always kind of have your plan set out, a good month, month and a half in advanced. I think the biggest thing is, is we’re going to keep our training camp mindset and mentality with the exception of when you get a couple days out, being mindful of, ‘Let’s still get some competitive work.’ But anytime you have that first preseason game with the exception of a few guys, usually those guys you’re counting on to start are playing anywhere between six to 12 plays.”