Normally, OTAs don't offer much in terms of coverage.
It's bottom tier football fluff. Runnin. Pushin. Gruntin. All necessary, sure, but nothing that draws your attention...except when the emotions boil over.
Here's today's practice in a shell.
The Scrappin' Was What Happened
Nothing makes for better fodder than some facemask-grabbin' helmet-slappin' pointlessness. These guys are used to playing the game on high, so despite the fact that they're teammates, you're bound to have some scuffles throughout the year.
We got our first (public) one today.
Rams OTA today was highly competitive, a few fights but their attitude was aggressive, players flying around having fun.— Tony Softli (@SoftliSTL) June 5, 2014
Practice was spirited _ three minor scuffles _ but enough to have Jeff Fisher gather the squad mid-practice and tell them to knock it off.— Jim Thomas (@jthom1) June 5, 2014
As OTAs go, it was a physical, intense practice. Multiple scuffles broke out, including a big one between Kenny Britt & Trumaine Johnson.— Nick Wagoner (@nwagoner) June 5, 2014
Fisher stopped the practice after Britt/Johnson scuffle and made it clear in no uncertain terms that he wasn't happy with the antics.— Nick Wagoner (@nwagoner) June 5, 2014
Britt beat Johnson and CB Janoris Jenkins for 2 long touchdowns in one on ones and let the young corners know about it. Set tone for fight.— Nick Wagoner (@nwagoner) June 5, 2014
Coach Fisher on WR Britt vs. CB Johnson fight today @STLouisRams OTA's "I would not have stopped it if we were in training camp".— Tony Softli (@SoftliSTL) June 5, 2014
Bear in mind, this means absolutely nothing about anything. Remember what happened during last year's OTAs? No? There's a reason. The only value here is we might get a write-up from Softli on, what I must only assume, was "a kiss of the pads."
God bless Uncle Tony.
Healthy, Wealthy and Wise
This early on, the biggest issue that affects the team going into the preseason is injuries. Don't think it can have an impact? Ask Cowboys fans fretting about LB Sean Lee whose knee injury in their first OTA will keep him out of the 2014 season. Nothing new to report on that front, but it's worth tracking who's still on the mend:
Not practicing Thurs. for Rams: S Christian Bryant, RB Chase Reynolds. S Maurice Alexander, LT Jake Long, and DL Williams Hayes.— Jim Thomas (@jthom1) June 5, 2014
Not mentioned among those names was QB Sam Bradford who only participated in the walkthrough. He's being held to about 50% of normal participation coming off of a knee injury of his own, though everything seems to be on track as of right now:
Bradford feels good about where he is in terms of rehab from ACL injury. He will do about 50 percent of the OTA work this month.— Jim Thomas (@jthom1) June 5, 2014
As for Jake Long, he's behind Bradford. The key is how the Rams begin preparing for the entryway to the season without him on board right now:
Fisher on Jake Long: "Jake’s issue was a little bit later than Sam’s but we expect him back somewhere middle part of training camp."— Nick Wagoner (@nwagoner) June 5, 2014
In meantime, Sean Hooey took reps with first team at LT on Thursday. Robinson at LG, Barnes at C, Saffold at RG, Barksdale at RT. #Rams— Nick Wagoner (@nwagoner) June 5, 2014
Keep an eye on that offensive line. It's a haven for nagging injuries and should give us an indication of what kind of offensive re-tooling may have gone on among the coaches during the downtime as well as any responses to personnel performance as guys like Hooey and Barnes get a chance to get first team reps.
Tony Softli Tweet From Two Days Ago To Entertain You During A Piece on OTAs Which Are Pretty Boring Overall So Why Not
I was the lone ranger in Rams Media Room today, got a lot if work done. Looking forward to Thursday & Friday OTA practice sessions.— Tony Softli (@SoftliSTL) June 4, 2014
Photoshop fodder, awaaaaaaaay!
Random Chris Long Tweet
We have a team that is fast.— Chris Long (@JOEL9ONE) June 5, 2014
We're getting close to football, kids.
Hold on strong.