May 11, 2012; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Rams wide receiver Brian Quick (83) runs as cornerback Trumaine Johnson (22) defends during mini camp at ContinuityX Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-US PRESSWIRE
If St. Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher had his way, it wouldn't be called a "minicamp," not with a group of rookie players getting their first taste of life in the NFL. Fisher calls it something else, something he feels is more appropriate to the gaggle of greenhorns in his charge.
"I crossed out the minicamp and I put orientation on it because at minicamp you're running around full speed like wild men and you're in great shape - and they're not - so this is more of an orientation," Fisher explained.
Note: click on the photo above to see more from Friday's session.
"Part of this process is for them to realize that they're here to help us win," Fisher said. "We addressed those types of things in the morning, just relax, make sure you're studying, you're focusing, you're asking questions. You teach them how to be a pro and they responded well."
Fisher's insistence on semantics did a good job of setting up reasonable expectations for the players. After all, this is their first day of work in the pros, without pads, and without the fierce level of competition they'll see on Sundays or even in training camp, at least for the ones that make it that far.
Just to drive home the point of how basic Friday's "orientation" really was, Fisher noted his pleasant surprise at the fact that no quarterback-center snap got miffed, a first in his career.
The two receivers from the Rams' draft class, 2nd-rounder Brian Quick and 4th-rounder Chris Givens, earned praise from the coach for their work on the field.
"Same thing we saw from Brian [Quick] at the workout," Fisher responded. "He's got really good hips for a big guy. He's got good hand-eye coordination and he's learning well. He's running good routes already. And then Chris, you know, Chris can run. He can really run and he's made plays, so they should be able to contribute this year."
Cornerbacks Janoris Jenkins and Trumaine Johnson also drew positive remarks for their work at practice. Both players matched up with Quick and Givens.
1st-round pick Michael Brockers and the other linemen from both sides of the ball were limited in what they could do in shorts. Brockers was still taking in the rarefied air of the pros.
"I'm still living the surrealness of just being here and being in a Rams' jersey," Brockers told Ron Clements. "It'll be better as we go on. I'll take this day as my learning day and the rest is just getting better."
"Initially I'm looking at, in 11-on-11 period, I'm looking for any poor alignments or penalty things like that to correct," Fisher said of what he looks for in these early sessions. "Mostly just watching a player. I'll pick out a player on each play, and keep in mind, we've got draft choices here that I'm familiar with. And honestly, we're not too familiar with the undrafted college free agents, so just trying to familiarize ourselves with them."
The players return to the field tomorrow, more familiar with the place and expectations on the field though hardly seasoned veterans. Expect more of the same on Saturday, just don't call it "minicamp."