I arrived to a clear, sunny and a very hot camp day to see defenders rotating through a turnover drill. The DB’s, LB’s and DL’s try to rip a football loose from various teammates. Greg Williams barking out commands. It was my first look at the Rams in person, and like last year, the image of these men is striking. TJ McDonald, Ogletree, Ayers, and, well pretty much every player looks physically imposing.
As I said, it’s a bunch of drills around the entire field. I walk from area to area. I’m looking for standouts. And I see one, it’s Greg Z. booming kicks through the goalposts. Our number 2 kicker, #1, doesn’t quite compare in leg strength. Finally I get to see the offense.
It was a bunch of players…RB’s taking handoffs from coaches. Gurley, Benny, and some #37…QB’s handing off…whistle blows and they’re off….
In drills, it’s a bunch of passes from Goff, Keenum, and Mannion. Even a #2 gets a few throws in. I see Tavon, Thomas, Cooper, Quick, Britt, and North make catches. Everyone catches…Tough catches, easy catches…Nothing special. These guys are athletes. Players that impressed me were Thomas, Britt, Austin, Quick and Marquez North. Put the ball near these guys in a drill, in a tough location, and watch the crowd go, "oooh"… Duke looks pretty good too. Horn, the defensive backs come on over.
This is where it gets a lil competitive. Certain db’s on my side are Coty Sensabaugh, Joyner, #41. I also have the man known as Kenny Britt in line. There is a certain swagger about Britt. Confident and cocky. He does every rep hard. He always trying to get his feet down inbounds. True professional. And the best part, he usually wins. Sensabaugh, Joyner, whoever goes against Britt is in for a bad rep…And they know it. Marquez North is coming along too. Like, he’s picking up Britt’s energy, and he’s competing. After a while, the only db’s that stand out are Joyner, and Coty. Especially Joyner. I talked bad about those two after last game, but in drills, Joyner competes. He makes it tough. He gets his hands on some balls. Joyner LOOKS BETTER than every other player in one on one drills. Remember, one on ones are totally in the receiver’s advantage. You have to cover too much field. Most of the defenders try to "guess" the route. And they usually guess wrong. On the far side, I see #9 miss a pass, and pound his hand on the ground. He’s been playing up the, I want to compete angle…Hustling…I bet #9 plays Saturday….I catch Pharoh Cooper missing one..then next rep, he makes a corner of the end zone catch…He tells the defender about it. I look back across the field to see Mike Thomas diving in the end zone, laying out to catch a pass. Mike Thomas is a player. Then I see Duke Williams…..Duke is running a fade route, he holds the db back…like he literally holds him off with one hand, and makes a catch with the other. It was an impressive display of strength and coordination….The players celebrate with Duke by leaping up on him, twisting in the air…Horn….All in all, we have receivers…Who stood out…Britt, Thomas, Tavon, Quick, and Duke. North & Cooper can play too…But Cooper is not a natural catcher like Britt and Duke…Guys like that are made to catch red zone passes.
TE’s come over…Kendricks is built up man….Calves & Arms….Geez! Hemingway is a specimen too…I saw some drill where in one instant the TE would lay down after the catch, the other they’d run through the pass….I was disappointed that Higbee wasn’t practicing….But not surprised. Again, these are huge men, and he caught five passes last game. I know he’s still sore…Harkey was the only guy of note I remember with a drop, the other drops were by some player I couldn’t recognize…Again, defenders have little chance of success, and the ones who do just happened to guess right. Horn
Finally some scrimmaging…
Starters are the same…Keenum, Tavon, Britt, Kendricks, Gurley, somebody I’m missing….oh well, line was Robinson, Wichman, Barnes, Brown…and I’m sure it was Saffold…could be wrong… And the reason I rarely have mentioned line play is this, it’s very hard to see exactly who’s going hard, who’s really having to block. I want to preface my comments with, I don’t believe these men are playing all out. I mean, Donald isn’t really going hard. Brockers naw….Hayes & Simms….not really. Scrimmaging is watered down, the lack of intensity is startling… And I blame it on the size of these men… I could see where if some of these guys went at each other at 100%, injuries would be happening left and right…. So, Keenum hands off to Gurley, crowd goes wild….he’s fast man….Keenum throws one to the flat to Benny…Keenum throws another swing pass…Man…I didn’t see anyone throw a pass farther than 10 yards in "live" scrimmage…all day. Talk about vanilla…talk about some 7 & 9 bullshit… Look, I only know what I’d want practice to look like, and it seems we’re practicing to have problems scoring. Fisher yelled out, ":55 seconds on the clock….."…1st team offense…they drove down to the 10 or so before time ran out….2nd team comes out. Same :55 seconds on the clock, one timeout…think Goff completed ONE pass…maybe two…but the thing is, he was locked on to his receiver to the left, play after play…I finally yelled out, "look to the other side!"…. You know, LA Champ stuff…My wife cringed, the crowd listened…Hell, I know Goff listened, he tried to look to the other side…My take, guys overwhelmed….Best arm on the team, but again, there are large and fast men out there…moving to do damage… I can see why he’s a little anxious…Maybe it’s some…I don’t know…but maybe they ARE installing some bits of the offense…Working on certain things…But to allow a young kid to constantly repeat bad techniques…and staring only to the left for 4 consecutive plays is BAD TECHNIQUE, allowing that seems counterproductive….Every pass in his :55 seconds was contested…Any NFL db is going to bait him, then pick him…My overall impression is, our offense is a work in progress…If the D-Line went hard, our offense would never move…I really want to see what the offense does against KC defense…Especially in the 1st quarter. Horn
We had a little more scrimmaging and it started getting heated, passes contested, big hits, and before the juices on these large men gets going, the final horn sounds. The linemen separate into a large group to stretch. The receivers break off and look like they’re catching passes from #2…Whatever it takes…
Final overview….I got to say I really enjoyed my time. I love football and the people it brings together…I met some ROD guys (what’s up @worldpeas ) & a RFU ( what’s up Elvis)….Beside being remind 3 times to stay off the fence and stop taking pictures (and NO, I didn’t have a damn camera!) I think the Irvine campus is great. Stuff for kids to do. I’ll be back. For the team, lots of work needed brothers. Not going to sugar coat it. I’m reminded of Hammer….Oh, he was negative. I’ll be gentle.
Offense…What can I say? It seemed that not many passes traveled over 10-15 yards…How can you score doing that? When do you practice long passes? Keenum is like the little guy on a high school team…I don’t think we’re using Kenny Britt effectively. And that guy is a stud…He should get 100+ targets. We are focusing on passing. Everything is in shotgun. No use working on running plays while going 75%. Our 2nd unit…Goff’s unit…looks like a mess…I can’t tell what’s wrong with it…but it’s outta shape. It’s funked up…I have a buddy named 3K…He coined a phrase, "Fisherball". And Jeff Fisher is always fucking with the offense…Always over there…Like he knows what is going on…Maybe he does…But if the offense is ground to a halt, look at Fisher…then Boras, and then Groh….If Goff gets in the end zone this week, everybody can rag on Champ…But, I don’t see Goff leading the team to the end zone. Not this week. I don’t see Keenum either…I expect Mannion to though…Mannion is throwing to Duke, and Thomas, and North….Those guys could start for me and are not the average 3rd stringers….They’ll have the advantage…
Defense…Big ass men….but they don’t really hit. I expect these guys to play better, but still be behind opponents. I did see tighter coverage on the outside. I think I saw Troy Hill on the 2nd team….I did see EJ Gaines…Wearing all white gear….I don’t think I saw him move full speed all day. He was lined up with the starters…Cody Davis started…Mo may be hurt…Barron wasn’t out there either…#50…think that’s Lynch, replace Mark Barron. Say uh-oh…say it like Scooby Doo, ruh-roh….
Players that popped. Kenny Britt. I have been tooting Quick’s horn. He’s like the padawan, Kenny’s the Jedi…No shit, Kenny is the real deal, The guy that reminds me of Kenny the most? Duke Williams. future pro, on this team or the next. he’s just better than the db’s that are sticking him. Strong man. Just like Britt.…Also watch out for Roberson & Hill to make some plays this weekend. Hell, look out for that Joyner & Sensabaugh tandem to really make amends. Joyner is a little guy…But he’s a try hard guy…He’s still getting beat though…But I respect him….Watch out for Mike Thomas…He’s always diving on the ground. Catching passes. He’s exciting to watch in person. I really like him more than Cooper. Cooper is not bad…shifty player…but not a stud. You know who also looked good? Marquez North…He pops. Dude made some really nice catches in drills. I see him getting some time. The #9 guy from U of Arizona…The guy off hard knocks, the one that was mad he didn’t get in the game…Look for him to play a lil….Don’t know about him. He competes hard…Or rather, reacts hard…Slams fist to the ground on every missed play…every single one. Look for that on the next hard knocks….he makes me think he’s acting…lol…Look for Tavon…I think they’re going to Britt & Quick this game….More than Tavon…But if Tavon gets one, he’s going to try to go to the house…He did that in the scrimmage today. Flew across the field. He is fast. Quick is considerably smaller than Britt now..IDK…Look for him to get considerable action on Saturday too. Last player that popped to me was Kendricks. He saw a lot of action in the 11 on 11’s. In fact, besides the backs, the TE’s received the most targets. Kendricks, Hemingway, and that Justice Cunningham. Benny’s big brother…Naw, that guy looks good. Our TE’s look good.
Players that pooped…Well, QB’s….they didn’t throw the ball…Maybe they don’t want to do that in front of the fans…You know…Spies…Put that camera down! I’m sure Pete Carrol & Bruce Arians send down spies in all white Rams gear…because…you know the Rams are SOOOO GOOOOD!.... ahahhahahahah But if Keenum is going to get any better, shouldn’t he like, you know, press the ball downfield a lil? In practice? I couldn’t imagine Brett Farve down here…He’d go crazy. Mannion & Goff have pretty decent arms too…Maybe this was swing practice Wednesday? Can’t say anyone really did badly. Just the lack of intensity, but I understand. Too many huge men. Goff…man…IDK….
My wife’s Facebook page notified her that a year ago today, we went to the Oxnard camp to watch the rams. Missed the fight by one day last year..dagnabit..Caught the Chase Reynolds fight.We saw Reynolds get an uppercut in. Is he feeling pressure????…I think I’ll go to practice again next week. I hope I can get better doing this, just like our Rams need to continue to get better on the field.