The St. Louis Rams turn it up a notch at Thursday's training camp, with the offense and defense strapping on the pads for the first time this year. Special teams had the pads on yesterday, but the workout was strictly limited to those units. Head coach Jeff Fisher and the rest of the world get their first look at how the players respond under live fire (sort of live fire).
The team is scheduled to practice at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday. This session is not open to the public. Fans will get their first listen to the crack and pop of plastic pads on Friday at 3:30 p.m. Media is on the scene, so we should have plenty of information to digest.
With the pads on, we have a whole list of things to watch for, like getting our first look at whether or not all those amazing plays from the first three practices translate as the action gets closer and closer to simulating the real thing.
- Sam Bradford - The Rams quarterbacks has been sharp in the early going at camp. Defenders still will be limited in hitting him, but with the pressure looking more and more like what Bradford will see in the regular season keep an eye on how he plays with guys in the pocket. Remember, he really struggled with pressure last season, to the point where he was anticipating it when it wasn't there.
- Pass blocking - Ancillary to the point I made above, the offensive line is going to be under heavy scrutiny this year after what happened to Bradford in the past.
- Receivers - Training camp tweets this week focused heavily on how well the receivers were catching passes. It almost made you forget that the Rams entered the offseason with nothing but question marks at the position. How well are these guys catching passes with corners dialing up the violence a little bit?
- Janoris Jenkins - Jenkins was a stud in practice this week, making receivers fight for every inch of every route they ran. It's much easier to be fluid in shorts and a jersey. How well does he look in pads, dealing with more contact?