The Los Angeles Rams kicked off training camp this weekend at UC Irvine. Players and coaches reported, and the team conducted a slew of transactions as they prepare for the 2022 season.
It’s not easy to keep up on the headlines over a busy summer weekend, so here’s everything you might have missed and a preview of what to expect from Rams training camp:
1 - Matthew Stafford will resume throwing
OK - you can take a deep breath now.
Stafford did not throw during minicamp or during organized team activities this offseason as the Rams look to manage his workload and mitigate nagging injuries. The veteran QB received an injection in his throwing arm after the Super Bowl victory, and the team will monitor his progress ahead of the regular season.
- Andrew Whitworth is officially retired, as Los Angeles placed him on the Reserve/Retired list.
- Travin Howard, who pulled his groin working away from the team, was added to the Non-Football Injury list.
- LA added three players - including two drafted rookies - to the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list: WR Warren Jackson, DB Quentin Lake, RB Kyren Williams. TST writer Venie Randy Soares did a great job explaining the mechanics of the PUP list over the weekend, though there were some changes in regards to what players ended up on which reserve list.
3 - Jalen Ramsey not placed on PUP list, but will rehab ahead of Week 1
The Rams defense will have a tough matchup to open the season against Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills - and having Jalen Ramsey healthy for that game will be important.
Ramsey was dealing with injuries to both of his shoulders towards the end of last season, and he opted to have one of them surgically repaired. While the shutdown corner has not yet been cleared for full participation in training camp, he can participate in “above the neck drills”.
It seems the expectation is that Ramsey will be ready for the regular season, but it’s still something to monitor in the coming weeks.
4 - Why Ramsey being sidelined could be a positive
Los Angeles is very young in the secondary. While there are reasons to be optimistic about many of the team’s corners, there doesn’t seem to be much separation between them.
Working against Cooper Kupp and Allen Robinson in camp could change that, and with Ramsey out the Rams could find out what they have in David Long, Jr., Robert Rochell, Decobie Durant, and Derion Kendrick.
5 - LA re-unites with QB Luis Perez
Perez went undrafted in 2018 and signed with the Rams. He played well during the preseason, but was ultimately released by the team and has bounced around other professional football leagues since.
Now he’s back in Los Angeles. With John Wolford seemingly holding a firm grasp on the primary backup position behind Matthew Stafford, Perez is left battling for the third slot along with Bryce Perkins.
That’s if there is even a third spot to be had in 2022.
6 - Which brings us to Bryce Perkins...
If the Rams have any belief - which we have no possible way of knowing - that Bryce Perkins has any trade value, now is the time to move him to another team.
Perkins impressed last preseason and received a ton of playing time, so there’s a lot of film and there’s talent to work with. While the quarterback’s running and mobility skills are unique, he wasn’t able to push the ball down the field much last year - and it’s fair to question if he has a viable future in the NFL.
But what if Perez also receives playing time and is also impressive?
In a way it would make it difficult for the Rams to keep either one of them as a third quarterback, because they could be retained on the practice squad with little risk of both being poached. Unless Perkins is impressive during the preseason and Perez is not, it’s hard to see Perkins having a higher trade value then he does at this moment in time.
7 - The competition at RG is just heating up
Rookie Logan Bruss was named as a potential starter immediately following the team taking him in the third round.
But knowing the Rams, they just don’t like slotting rookies in as starters - and that brings us to Tremayne Anchrum, Bobby Evans... and even Coleman Shelton.
Anchrum has been with the team since 2020, and it seems LA is pleased with his development. Sean McVay name-dropped Shelton and he certainly seems like someone to keep on eye on.
8 - Is there room for Bobby Evans on this roster?
A third round draft selection in 2019, Evans’ most impressive season so far has come in his rookie year - filling in for an injured Rob Havenstein at right tackle. In the same year the Rams also drafted offensive lineman David Edwards, who has drastically out-performed Evans in their respective careers so far.
Bruss is basically a lock as a third round rookie. If Anchrum or Shelton win the starting job at RG, could Evans be on his way out of LA?
9 - Checking in on Stafford’s new weapons
Free agent signing Allen Robinson impressed during offseason workouts, and it’ll be interesting to see how his relationship with Stafford blossoms as the quarterback resumes throwing. Robinson could be in for a huge year.
But then there are a slew of second-year wide receivers that dealt with significant injuries last season - and they are shiny new toys for Stafford to work with this year.
Can Tutu Atwell reward the Rams for their trust in him when they selected him in the second round? His speed and Stafford’s arm strength could be a match made in heaven.
Same with Jacob Harris, who’s a unicorn given his size and athleticism. LA has to find a way to get him on the field, especially in the red zone.
Ben Skowronek was thrust into playing time last year before he was ready, but he’s a bigger body and can even play some H-back and move tight end. Speaking of tight ends, could we see either Kendall Blanton or Byrcen Hopkins carve out a role in this offense?
10 - Is LA content with their options at edge?
For now it seems the Rams are content to run with Justin Hollins, Terrell Lewis, and Chris Garrett at the edge position opposite Leonard Floyd. It wouldn’t be a surprise for LA to add another option here, likely via trade, but it also wouldn’t be a surprise for either of these guys to emerge as the primary starter.
Each have legitimate question marks heading into the season:
- Hollins: better run defender than pass rusher - is that enough?
- Lewis: is his lingering knee issue behind him, or will his playing time be limited?
- Garrett: his athleticism and talent aren’t a question, but whether or not he’s ready to compete against the best in the NFL is.