The Los Angeles Rams have been at training camp for a week, but have thus far only practiced without pads. That changes on Tuesday and as Houston Texans safety Justin Reid put it this week: “It’s like the first day of school.”
We’ve learned a little bit about the 2021 Rams so far — Matthew Stafford is fun to watch and a new challenge LA’s top-ranked defense, Terrell Burgess could be ready for a terrell-breakout season, and the running backs depth chart got a lot more interesting — but we will learn a lot more (including what we’re wrong about right now) once players can put on pads and begin hitting each other for the first time.
San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan had a bit of a different take on pads:
What do you look to see when you get these guys in pads?
“That nothing changes. I mean, they keep playing the same way and we never go to the ground. Sometimes people know that someone won’t thud you. I like to see who, everyone’s running fast out there knowing someone’s not going to thud you up, but when they do, is that going to change? And if it doesn’t change, then you know you’ve got football players.”
RB Javonte Williams: “The real football starts (Tuesday).” RG Graham Glasgow: “I’m super excited. Getting the reps and the (run-game) fits in with no pads is fine, but getting in pads is really what football is like.” C Lloyd Cushenberry: “This is when it gets real. The tempo for us up front, we’ve been going hard so it won’t change from that aspect, but to get the pads on, it gets a little more chippy. I’m looking forward to it.”
The helmets have an old school leatherhead look without regular helmets underneath, but as Peter King pointed out in FMIA this week, they can also look MASSIVE when placed atop a hard shell helmet.
Oddly enough, Raiders fan Ryan Riddle tweeted out three years ago that the NFL should consider versions of soft shell helmets.
Player safety idea: instead solving every safety issue with more flags, modify equipment. Make shoulder pads softer. Consider versions of soft-shell helmets.— Ryan Riddle (@Ryan_Riddle) August 18, 2018
It’s unclear if the Rams have used any soft shell helmets (it is clear that some people have been rammed or rammed others with a soft shell helmet) but they will be putting on regular pads on Tuesday.