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What to look for in the second week of Rams training camp

From Tutu Atwell to Derion Kendrick and Riley Dixon, there are competitions abound in L.A.

NFL: Los Angeles Rams Training Camp Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Rams held a “light practice” on Sunday and were “de-loading” with another tough week ahead. Less than two weeks from the first preseason contest, Sean McVay will get another long look at his starters and depth with more training camp ahead.

The first week brought plenty for Rams fans to talk about, from Allen Robinson to Jacob Harris to Derion Kendrick, and we should expect that to continue with week two.

Opportunities for Tutu Atwell, Jacob Harris at wide receiver

The Rams could be expecting bad news on the health of Van Jefferson’s knee and he is being evaluated by a specialist on Monday. That means potentially more opportunities for two players who have had a notable offseason for L.A.: Tutu Atwell and Jacob Harris.

The 57th overall pick out in 2021, Atwell came into the league with high expectations from the Rams, even if some fans felt that he was drafted too high based on pre-draft analysis that noted he may have been more of a “fourth round pick.” Add in that L.A. was seemingly set at receiver after signing DeSean Jackson in the offseason and drafting Jefferson in 2020, and there was a lot of skepticism about Les Snead’s decision to pick a 155 lbs receiver who had only started to become acclimated to the position at Louisville after playing quarterback in high school.

But McVay has loved what he’s seen out of Atwell in his second offseason and this week could create more opportunities for him to step into the WR3 role next to Cooper Kupp and Allen Robinson.

A player with even less experience at receiver than Atwell was 2021 fourth round pick Jacob Harris, but he was somehow seen as a less controversial pick. He was also viewed as a tight end project. However, McVay put an end to that experiment and Harris was moved back to wide receiver in the first week of camp.

There’s been little talk of Ben Skowronek, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s not doing everything right. We also can’t say for sure if both he and Harris will make L.A.’s final 53-man roster.

Could Cobie Durant or Derion Kendrick play key roles in the secondary?

It was only two years ago that a Rams sixth round pick earned a starting job as a rookie, but Snead may have struck day three gold again with Derion Kendrick. The sixth rounder out of Georgia is off to a fast start and L.A. is seeking a third cornerback to stand out and earn a job next to Jalen Ramsey and Troy Hill. Assuming Hill is a lock for the roster, which seems probable given his experience with McVay.

He’s not alone, however.

Our own Cliff Jackson was at Rams training camp this weekend and he saw fourth round cornerback Decobie Durant as a standout, meaning that Raheem Morris could have two standout corners to choose from in L.A.’s 2022 draft class.

Will David Long, Jr. make the cut?

It’s been a tough road for Long to go from draft pick to starter and the fourth-year pro has yet to grab as many headlines as his rookie counterparts. Only months ago, Long had a playoff pick-six against the Cardinals.

Will the athletic standout make plays in the preseason and training camp worthy of making the roster again or is he the odd man out if Hill, Durant, Kendrick, rookie Russ Yeast, and Robert Rochell are all on the final 53?

And yeah, there’s no indication that the Rams are moving on without Rochell, another offseason standout and a potential Week 1 starter next to Ramsey and Hill.

Do the Rams keep four tight ends and who is second in line?

With Harris moving to receiver, that leaves Tyler Higbee, Kendall Blanton, and Brycen Hopkins as an unquestionable top three at tight end. But who is TE2 and is there going to be a TE4?

It seems that Hopkins was getting reps with the twos in the first week, but Blanton appeared to be ahead of him last season.

A sleeper for TE4 is undrafted free agent Roger Carter because he’s versatile, potentially playing some fullback/h-back, and could participate on special teams. The Rams have yet to find their next Johnny Mundt, if such a thing is warranted.

Does Coleman Shelton let go of RG position?

Turf Show Times was first to really catch that McVay was preparing fans to see Coleman Shelton as the starter at right guard and now it is the common expectation. McVay has not ruled out rookie Logan Bruss or any competition for Shelton, but similar to Brian Allen in 2021, we should not expect McVay to turn back unless he feels that the starting five is really struggling.

That means that when the Rams play their first preseason game, if Shelton is not out there, we probably won’t see him for the entire preseason. Just like the rest of the starters.

The L.A. Rams face the L.A. Chargers on August 13 at 7 PM. Two weeks.

Which punter replaces Johnny Hekker?

As Cliff wrote this week, Riley Dixon’s advantage over undrafted free agent Cameron Dicker is simply experience. This is Dixon’s seventh season after two with the Broncos and four with the New York Giants.

The good news is that if Dixon wins the job, he won’t be as vital to L.A. as he was to the Giants. Dixon had to punt 74 times last season because Daniel Jones. Hekker punted 51 times because Matthew Stafford.

Terrell Lewis breakout watch

The Rams are hoping for anyone to step up on the edge opposite of Leonard Floyd and Terrell Lewis seems to be the best bet.

Without Von Miller blocking him this time around, and seemingly no health issues, Lewis has a real opportunity to get the 600+ snaps necessary to be a pivotal player on L.A.’s defense and one who is recognized league wide for being a great pass rusher. We have yet to consistently see it, but the reports from teammates like Floyd have been positive already.

Will it show up on game day? Will Lewis stay healthy enough to earn 600 snaps? Or even 500? Lewis played in 367 last season.

Follow Turf Show Times on Twitter this season for more updates.