clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The position battles at Rams training camp that are heating up in Week 2

Who’s inching ahead in position battles in Week 2 of Rams training camp?

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

NFL: Los Angeles Rams Training Camp Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Training camp for the Los Angeles Rams is nearing it’s final stages. The team will have three more practices considered a part of training camp before their first preseason game against the Los Angeles Chargers on August 13.

Since we checked in last time following the first week of training camp, there is a lot to update on in terms of the position battles. Let’s take a look at the recent developments.

The Demarcus Robinson Show at Wide Receiver

The position battle at the third wide receiver position is certainly heating up. However, it is worth noting here that while one player will have more snaps than others, this will likely end up more as a WR3a, WR3b, and WR3c situation.

With Skowronek missing some time with an injury, he’s fallen back a little bit. For the most part, this has been a battle between Puka Nacua and TuTu Atwell. With that said, Demarcus Robinson has consistently been making some noise in practices.

On Robinson, Rams offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur said,

“He’s got a certain swag to him that’s contagious and I think you guys can probably feel that when you’re watching it out there. Every time he runs a route, he believes he’s going to win that route.”

McVay also pointed out Robinson’s confidence saying, “He’s got a good swagger. You can just see the way that he even just moves around the field, he’s got confidence.”

It’s fair to wonder whether or not Robinson will have a bigger role in the offense than some were initially expecting when he signed with the team back in June.

While Robinson has been stealing the show, Atwell and Nacua are standing out on their own as well.

Specifically, Atwell seems to have made significant strides. On Thursday, The Rams’ Stu Jackson noted that Atwell caught a deep touchdown pass from Stafford and then a short touchdown pass with Tre Tomlinson in coverage. The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue noted that Atwell has taken significant steps in his development this offseason. He’s been playing multiple positions and been working on his blocking.

During his press conference, LaFleur praised Atwell and called him a smart player.

“The thing that people don’t see that we get to see on a daily basis is just how smart this guy is. He’s just locked in and to the point where he is in meetings and he’s absorbing all theinformation...Obviously, his athletic ability is going to help him out there when that ball is snapped, but being able to just be versatile in this offense is a huge thing.”

It’s worth mentioning that Atwell did have a fumble in Saturday’s practice, but it’s been mostly positive from the third-year wide receiver. It sounds like he’s potentially ready to take that next step.

With Cooper Kupp out with a hamstring injury, players like Atwell, Nacua, and Robinson will all be given more opportunities.

Quentin Lake at Linebacker?

The competition at safety is going to continue to be a fun one to monitor throughout the remainder of training camp and the preseason. Second-year safety Quentin Lake has been showing off some of his versatility playing linebacker. Now, to be clear, he likely isn’t playing linebacker in the same way that Mark Barron did as a converted safety. This will be more of a hybrid linebacker as the “money” or sixth defensive back in dime packages which takes the place as the weak side linebacker. According to defensive coordinator Raheem Morris,

“He’s getting to move around a little bit for us. He’s playing safety. He’s able to play in the box, a little bit of dime linebacker for us. He’s able to play either side at safety, all those things. It’s just nice to have him out here.”

The more a player like Lake can do, the better chance that he has at making the final roster. The Rams’ Stu Jackson noted rookie Jason Taylor II coming up with a pass breakup on Thursday. Additionally, Russ Yeast and Lake teamed up on a pass breakup on a ball from Stafford intended for Atwell. Rodrigue also noted highlights from Yeast and Tanner Ingle.

Ingle is a name to continue watching at the safety position as the Rams enter the closing stages of training camp and the preseason. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him sneak onto the roster and at least should be on the practice squad.

Brycen Hopkins Standing Out at Tight End

There hasn’t been a lot of news on the tight end front, but there are some things to report on. Tyler Higbee has been his usual, consistent self. Higbee is someone that all of the quarterbacks have been connecting with in practice.

However, Brycen Hopkins had a nice play in Tuesday's practice, but really got involved on Thursday. According to the Rams’ Stu Jackson,

“Hopkins made plays across all facets of situational work Thursday. Besides making a nice catch on an intermediate pass from Stafford during team drills, he also was on the receiving end of a Bennett pass that picked up a good chunk of yardage and helped move the ball a 2-minute drill. That same series, he hauled in a shorter pass to keep the drive moving. In redzone work, he caught a touchdown pass from quarterback Brett Rypien.”

Things have been quiet on the Hunter Long front. It’s still too early to say, but Hopkins may end up being the second tight end in the offense behind Higbee with Long or Davis Allen behind them. Allen has missed some time with a hamstring injury. According to McVay, Allen is a player that they’re going to be smart with in terms of his workload going forward.

Young Edge Rushers Have a Long Way to Go

There remains a lot of uncertainty and lack of clarity at the edge rusher position. Ochaun Mathis hurt his knee and will be out a few weeks. That’s a huge hit to the overall depth at the position and disappointing for a player that was considered raw coming out of the draft.

McVay praised Byron Young this week, but says he still has a ways to go,

“I think he’s doing a good job. Those guys are really young on the edge. Like I’ve mentioned before, (Outside Linebackers Coach) Joe Coniglio’s done a really good job with those guys. There’s a lot of stuff going on, there’s a lot of moving parts. You can see the physicality, the athleticism, the turn and run ability, but he’s got a long way to go.”

Daniel Hardy recovered a fumble by Zach Evans, but he’s been relatively quiet in the reports coming out of training camp. This is going to be a position to watch during the preseason as these players get live, in-game reps.

Will Rams Have Tough Decisions to Make on Defensive Line?

One position where the Rams could really have some difficult decisions to make is along the defensive line. It seems like all of these guys are making plays and making a case for their spot. The preseason could have a huge impact on this position group.

The one player really standing out is Kobie Turner. The Rams’ Stu Jackson described a play on Monday where he pressured Bennett from the interior and flushed him out of the pocket and out of bounds. Donald spoke about the rookie in his press conference. Said Donald “He’s a smart guy. He understands the schemes, he’s working hard. So far, I think he’s been having a great camp.”

Behind Turner, Jonah Williams has made his presence felt in the run game and Earnest Brown IV had a pressure that would have resulted in a sack if it happened during the game. The real test for these guys will be the preseason, but it’s going to be a tight competition.

Other Notes

  • Rookie running back Zach Evans had a fumble early in the week, but was noted with a nice play as a receiver by the Rams’ Stu Jackson. Kyren Williams should be the backup running back with Sony Michel retiring. Williams was reported to have a nice touchdown grab along the sideline this week.
  • There hasn’t been a lot of noise at linebacker. However, Christian Rozeboom was reported to have a near-interception near the goal line on Thursday. This will be a position to watch in the preseason.
  • At cornerback, Cobie Durant has gotten some praise. However, behind him Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson has caught some eyes. Additionally, Tyon Davis forced a fumble and according to Jackson, rookie defensive back Timarcus Davis nearly made one of the best interceptions in the early stages of camp.