The St. Louis Rams had a busy day on Monday, putting on the pads for the first time. There was a lot to see, and even more to talk about. Fisher, Schottenheimer and new defensive coordinator Tim Walton all spent some time answering questions after practice.
I stuffed a bunch of stuff about the offense into a piece Monday afternoon. There were more tidbits. But where to put all these delicious nuggets of information we gleaned?
I know ...
P - P - P POWER RANKINGS!
/cuts to explosions and electric guitar riff
Here ya go ... ten pack of nuggets, all meat/no filler, ready for your consumption with honey mustard sauce.
10. TURNOVERS, GIVE ME ALL THE TURNOVERS
What would Fisher like to see his defense do better this season?
"We had a stretch - I think we had a streak of about five or six games where we didn't have a turnover. I think we need to work consistently on turnovers and cause fumbles."
It seems like the Rams had plenty of turnovers this season. I mean, Janoris Jenkins scored four touchdowns on turnovers. In reality, the defense recovered just 17 fumbles, which was tied for just fifth fewest in the league. They added 17 interceptions, only 10 teams had more picks.
9. SHAPE UP, TAVON
It might not be All Tavon, All the Time, but the rookie offensive weapon is going to be spending plenty of time on the field. Said Brian Schottenheimer:
"Well, obviously, there's plenty of touches for him. We have big plans for him on offense and big plans for him on ‘teams.' Again, he'll have to be in good shape, which he is."
8. DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR THINKS HIS DEFENSE WILL BE GOOD
Of course, Tim Walton thinks his defense will be good. It's his job to make it good.
How do blame the guy, someone actually asked him how good his defense was going to be this year. What else was he going to say?
"Meh, it's going to be okay, but let's not fool ourselves or anything."
Here's what he did say:
"We can be pretty good. We still have guys up front, a seasoned group of guys from last year. We got a lot of new incoming guys with S T.J. (McDonald) and (LB Alec) Ogletree. We still got (LB James) Laurinaitis, (CB) Cortland (Finnegan), and (CB) Janoris (Jenkins). So, we have guys that have played and started here before on defense that are returning that can be just as good."
If Walton can run a defense like he can politely answer a dumb question, the sky's the limit.
7. BARRETT JONES IS HEALTHY, READY TO GO
Nick Saban's favorite player (a distinction that really does come with a cool badge and certificate for framing) was back on the field and practicing on Monday. Schottenheimer:
"He sailed one snap to the left, which we gave him a hard time about, but we certainly don't worry about his ability to snap. It was fun to see him out there. Another guy that did a great job knowing that he had to get healthy before he could get out there, but he's certainly ready, knows the system and is taking charge out there."
6. SAFETY SURPRISE
Here's Walton on one of the second-year safeties to keep an eye on in camp and the preseason:
"Rodney McLeod is really making a lot of plays. He's running around. He's versatile. Those guys are doing good. We're just excited about the athletic ability and the energy that they bring."
Energy? That sounds extreme to the max, bruh!
5. FEELS LIKE THE FIRST TIME
The pads went on Monday for the first time, and the players could feel it. From Fisher:
"As it always is the case in the first day of pads, you look and your team just slows down. You're running routes fast with great team speed without pads, they put the plastic on, so it's a process and tomorrow's off and we'll come back with pads Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday."
4. THESE INJURIES THOUGH
Fisher was asked about the epidemic of torn ACLs, busted hips and general misfortune that fell over the NFL last weekend:
"Unfortunately, preseason injuries are a part of the game, and they happen every year. It's just something that you hope that doesn't happen to you. It's unfortunate, but when there's an injury, as most of the coaches are saying, ‘Hey, we've got to move on, we'll get somebody else or we got someone on the roster to step up and get an opportunity'."
Uh, Jeff Fisher has now coached the Rams for one season, he knows a thing or two about injuries to his players.
3. THERE'S MORE THAN ONE COOKIE
There is not more than one Jared "Cookie" Cook, but the Rams may have some quality depth at tight end. Overlook these guys at your own risk. From Schottenheimer:
"You watch Cory Harkey, you watch a guy that's undrafted out of UCLA, came in here and missed most of the spring last year and came in for training camp, finally we got him out on the field late in the year. (He's) having a great camp. Mike McNeill is a guy, obviously, who is a match-up problem."
2. CATCHING UP TO DO
Speaking of tight ends, Lance Kendricks is still sitting out with a knee injury. He had it scoped in the spring. And Schottenheimer made it clear that he has some catching up to do when he does get back on the field:
"I don't think it's a setback. I think what he's going to have to do is once he gets healthy and ready to go, he's just going to have to work a little bit extra harder. We have no concerns about him in that regard."
The Rams could have a little bit of a tight end battle brewing. So extreme to the max, you guys.
And now for the most extreme info nugget from Monday, so extreme we've got to spell the word like this "Xtreme" because it's, like, X-Games extreme ...
1. MICHAEL BROCKERS WILL RULE THEM ALL
Much has been said about the second-year defensive tackle's new look. He filled out. And Walton was talking him up this time:
"Outstanding. He's a stud up front. He's a big athlete. He gives you a lot of flexibility. Also, being able to play a 2-technique, 1-technique, 3-technique, put him right over the center in the zero - so he gives you a lot of flexibility because he's athletic. He can run, you can widen him out a little bit and get him on the edge, so that's a valuable option for him also."
Versatile. Powerful. Athletic. The league could be talking about this defensive line more and more as the season goes on.