ST. LOUIS, MO - MAY 12: Michael Brockers #90 of the St. Louis Rams looks on during rookie mini camp at the ContinuityX Training Center on May 12, 2012 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Rookie "orientation" has gone pretty well for the St. Louis Rams. A platoon of rookie headlined by 10 draft picks have all had their first taste of life in the NFL this weekend. Next week, the veterans get added to the mix as the coaching staff accelerates the pace of things to get the playbook installed by the middle of June.
Eyeballs have been laser focused on Brian Quick, which makes sense given the team's long standing drought of any top-flight receiver prospects and a no-contact practice that highlights the passing game by default. But the others have been on the field too, and earning their share of praise from the coaches.
Janoris Jenkins drew some early nods for his work on Friday, and that continued on Saturday. Fisher, a former defensive back, praised both Jenkins and Trumaine Johnson, a 3rd-round pick out of Montana.
"They're both very athletic and both have very good pass catching ability and hand-eye coordination and they're learning," Fisher said. "They're learning, they're physical, they have long arms. They're pretty good at the position."
Wide receiver Chris Givens, a 4th-round pick, had the only injury, so to speak, as he was forced aside with some cramping late in the day.
We talked about Givens and Jenkins with a couple guests who know those guys well on Saturday's edition of Turf Show Radio.
The nature of the practice session didn't give 1st-round pick Michael Brockers much chance to show off his skills. He did do a few things in drills that earned him some attention from the coach.
"I would say just his quickness for a big man, his change of direction," Fisher said of the LSU product. "It's hard to measure his strength out here, other than on the bags, but he's got great quickness and long arms. He's going to be an impact player for us."
The new kickers have advanced slowly, by design. They did not kick on the field this weekend, and Fisher explained that they "worked on the mechanics."
Undrafted free agent linebacker Sammy Brown of from the University of Houston looks like a diamond in the rough among the Rams' UDFA class. One of the biggest knocks against him was his consistency and motor. Fisher discussed that on Saturday.
"There's only one way we play on defense and if you're not going to the football full speed, you don't take plays in the defense or you don't step on the field," the coach said. "I would like to think those days are behind him. He's very talented, very athletic and he was very productive at times. We feel like we'll make him a 100-percent effort player."
Another name who stood out was Southern Mississippi quarterback Austin Davis. Yes, he did work with Southern Mississippi's most famous alum, Brett Favre, prior to being nabbed as one of the Rams' UDFAs this year.
"Obviously, we were impressed with what we saw," Fisher said. "He came from more of a pro-style offense. Obviously he was a little more comfortable than (rookie QB) Barrett (Trotter) was just because of their backgrounds. He's a smart young man. He's an accurate passer and he played well and kept them in a lot of games."
I can't imagine Tom Brandstater is locked into the third quarterback role, not as a waiver wire pickup from the previous administration. That could be one of the more interesting under cards in camp this year.
The pace picks up next week, a point Fisher made very clear.
"As we told the varsity this past week, we're going to start again from Day One with the installation, and by the time we're done in mid-June, we will have installed absolutely everything," Fisher said. "Then we're going to do it again when training camp starts. So when they come and report to training camp, they'll know exactly what to expect through camp. The only difference is we're going to put some pads on at times."