Several hundred football thirsty fans braved early rains and were rewarded with the chance to watch the St. Louis Rams practice during the second day of training camp.
“We got a break on the weather,” Rams head coach Jeff Fisher said. “That was good.
“It is going to be hard to put 90 (players) inside,” the coach continued. “You have to make some adjustments and we had a sense it would clear out so it was good for us.”
From conditioning drills to single position workouts all the way to a full offense vs. defense scrimmage and kicking drills the fans were able to see the everything the Rams will be doing this upcoming season.
“We are not making a lot of mistakes right now,” Fisher said. “We are not having a lot of line of scrimmage issues, the defense is really getting off on the ball. The defense made a lot of plays and got their hands on a lot of balls. We had a couple of very competitive drills.”
There were plenty of oohs and aahhs as players made crowd cheering catches, but of course, there were some missed catches and dropped balls as well.
“It is still real early,” Fisher said. “It is just day two. Our goal as we said is to increase scoring and keep the defense off the field.”
Having lost star running back Steven Jackson in the offseason to free agency, the running game will be one of the areas that everyone is watching. However, runningbacks can’t do a lot if they can’t hit and burst through the lines and until the Rams start wearing pads, the running game will be a wait and see issue.
“It is hard to evaluate your run game without pads,” Fisher said. “And we are a couple of days away from (wearing pads), so we will be able to start pushing the running game then.”
Currently the Rams have six running backs on the roster: Benjamin Cunningham, Terrance Ganaway, Isaiah Pead, Chase Reynolds, Daryl Richardson, and Zac Stacy. Of the six, Stacy and Cunningham are rookies while Reynolds is in his second season. As for the rest of the runningback corps, they are entering their third year in the league.
Richardson is the team’s leading returning rusher with 475 yards on the ground last year while Pead had just 54 yards. However, neither player scored last season.
Fisher said he will have the special teams in pads for some work Sunday night, but other than that, the Rams will be padless until Monday.
With Jackson off to Atlanta, defensive end Chris Long becomes the most tenured Ram on the team with six years of service. However, Long is not the most senior member on the roster. There are six players who have been in the NFL longer.
“We assign parking spots to the players based on senority,” Fisher said. “He is still about four or five down the line. We had (free agent acquisition) Will Witherspoon come in here and he got the first one right off the bat. But, from the standpoint of senority that have been here, he is enjoying every minute of it. He is taking a leadership role in the room to a bunch of the young guys and they are working together and he takes a lot of pride in this defense.”
One of the biggest things about training camp is getting the team to improve. From rookies to the seasoned veterans, Fisher believes every player can improve, including Long.
“I think everybody can get better,” Fisher said. “(Long) makes a great share of his big plays with effort and I think if you ask him, he would tell you that he can still do better at times with technique.”
The Rams’ camp is being held at the Rams’ offices and training complex in Earth City. It runs through August 21. Both parking and viewing of practice are free. Practice will normally run between two hours and two and a half hours.
While the players practice every day, not every practice is open to the public. There are 17 days that are open. The remaining days open to the public are Saturday, July 27; Monday, July 29; Wednesday, July 31 through Saturday, August 3; Monday and Tuesday, August 5 and 6; Saturday, August 10; Monday, August 12; Thursday and Friday, August 15 and 16; Monday through Wednesday, August 19 to 21.
Most days practice begins at 3:30 p.m., however, today’s practice as well as Thursday, August 1, will be at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, August 3, will be a scrimmage at 12:30 p.m. Friday, August 16’s practice will be at 11:15 a.m. while Tuesday, August 20’s practice will be at 4 p.m.