Football season announced its arrival in earnest on Thursday, heralded by the dull thud of molded plastic colliding. Training camp is to now at the point where it feels like football season never left. Appropriately enough, the St. Louis Rams marked the occasion by dialing up what is fast becoming their trademark intensity under new head coach Jeff Fisher.
The added urgency of things led to some tempers flaring in Thursday's practice, according to the official account of practice. Harvey Dahl exchanged pleasantries with Jo-Lonn Dubar, who took down Steven Jackson ... twice. Barry Richardson mixed it up with defensive end Eugene Sims, who is fast becoming a favorite adopted son of the new coaching staff.
To strip out the analogy and make it more clinical, the tussles are sign that the teams is forming some esprit de corps. The veteran guard standing up for the team's star running back sets a tone and a nice example for the his linemates to follow.
Jackson was dishing it out as well. Running plays made up the center of the offensive work, and Jackson was reportedly pounding away. The image of Jackson delivering a stiff arm to Janoris Jenkins sounds like a perfect welcome to the NFL for the prodigious rookie.
On the offensive line, Quinn Ojinnaka and Bryan Mattison shared time with the starters. Mattison apparently was no match for Michael Brockers. In fact, if there was anything about the practice that was disconcerting, it was the offensive line. To wit:
With so many moving parts, it's been hard for the offensive line to find a rhythm in the opening days of camp. That became more evident with the pads on as the Rams defensive line continues to get consistent pressure on the quarterback.
Scott Wells is still out of the lineup too. The Rams offensive line has struggled too much last season and before that they no longer get the benefit of the doubt. There might not be a more scrutinized position on the team for months ahead, rightfully so.
On the upside, Ojinnaka's enthusiasm is contagious. Seriously, follow the guy on Twitter.
Danario Alexander is "closer" to returning, along with Kendric Burney and Josh Gordy. Darian Stewart was out on Thursday with a tight hamstring, which if I had any sort of athleticism I would call a "hammy."
Jerome Murphy was out as well, described as "sore" by Fisher.
Rokevious Watkins was back in action.
The Rams have a scrimmage at the Dome on Saturday, with the festivities starting at Noon. There's a ton of stuff going on around the team's FanFest, so come down and check it out. I'll be there Saturday, so follow me on Twitter @TurfShowTimes and come say hi.
Tuesday, August 7 is going to be the hottest ticket in town when TST takes over training camp that day. The Rams practice at 3:30 p.m. and we'll have a meetup after that. Joining us will be Kevin Demoff and Les Snead chatting it up and answering your questions.