We're getting close.
The Rams have four official organized team activities this week in absence of a mandatory minicamp, the only team in the NFL in fact to not hold one (#Fisherball). Media will be in attendance on Tuesday and Thursday while today's and Friday's practice will be closed.
It's the last gasp of the offseason to give the team a chance to install some of the basics of the team philosophy on both sides of the ball, acclimate the new Rams to the climate of the franchise and begin building the chemistry the team will rely on throughout the preseason and into meaningful football.
The Rams began their 2014 training camp on Friday, July 25. I'd guess that slides back to Friday, July 24, for this year. A month and nine, team. We can do this.
The Offensive Line
Demetrius Rhaney got his chance at the starting center gig playing with the 1s to close out last week. And a good look all around the line from the P-D's Joe Strauss with a worthy plea from an old-time coach in Rams' Offensive Line Coach Paul Boudreau:
I recently saw where an NFL coach said spread offenses are killing the NFL. What’s killing the NFL is you were once able to count on a guy making huge improvement between his rookie and his second year. Now, with all these rules and collective bargaining governing when you can’t practice, you don’t see the (second-year) guy until April. It’s hard for him to beat out a veteran because you can’t teach the guy...
...Just give me a chance to coach my guys. That’s what I’m concerned about.
Without an official injury report, it's impossible to really know who among the listed non-participants missed practice because of injury versus other reasons. Still, the big one to keep an eye on is T.J. McDonald and his "ordeal."
Thursday's non-participant list (alphabetical): OT Steven Baker, S Mark Barron, TE Alex Bayer, WR Kenny Britt, LB Jo-Lonn Dunbar, DT Nick Fairley, RB Todd Gurley, S T.J. McDonald, CB Brandon McGee, DE Eugene Sims, OG Cody Wichmann and WR Damian Williams.
War hero Daniel Rodriguez made a nice diving catch over the middle; he stayed late w/fellow WR Tyler Slavin catching balls from Jeff Garcia.— Jim Thomas (@jthom1) June 11, 2015
ALL HAIL RODRIGUEZ. ALL HAIL SLAVIN.
Two good pieces on two surprises in the Rams' secondary. ESPN's Nick Wagoner talked to Rodney McLeod who has gone from forgettable UDFA to special teams standout to starting free safety. Now he's got a shot in his contract year to make a huge leap and earn some reliability...and some cash if it works out. Meanwhile, Elisabeth Meinecke over at Fox Sports Midwest spoke with Missouri product E.J. Gaines and the competition amid the top cornerbacks on the team. In the Imoan Claiborne roster preview piece, I suggested that the backend of the cornerback depth chart is probably a third-tier story for camp. I might suggest that the opposite, sorting out the roles between Janoris Jenkins, Trumaine Johnson, Lamarcus Joyner and Gaines, might be a top-tier one to follow.
Until then, OTAs it is.