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What We Learned from St. Louis Rams Training Camp This Week

Coach Jeff Fisher keeps on eye on the action during training camp.
Coach Jeff Fisher keeps on eye on the action during training camp.Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
Ron ClementsCorrespondent IAugust 3, 2012

The St. Louis Rams practiced for about two hours on Friday in sweltering heat. The heat didn’t slow the pace, but it did result in some sloppy play.

Whether it was the heat causing sweaty palms or something else, quarterbacks Sam Bradford and Kellen Clemens struggled throwing the deep ball, and rookie wide receiver Chris Givens had a couple of drops. Maybe they were nervous because Missouri governor Jay Nixon was watching. Rap star Nelly was at Rams Park on Thursday as the cavalcade of celebrities continues to run through the ContinuityX Training Center.

Coach Jeff Fisher spoke with Nixon for a good 15 minutes after practice but said the "conversation was confidential."

Fisher did say that 340-pound rookie guard Rokevious Watkins, a fifth-round pick from South Carolina, will start getting reps with the first-team offense at left guard.

Bradford looked particularly bad with some flutter balls, one of which was intercepted by safety Craig Dahl.

We learned this week that the defense is clearly ahead of the offense. That’s to be expected at this point, as new offenses usually take a little longer for everything to jell.

We also learned that once the pads got on, the players were eager to hit. There were a few skirmishes—pushing and shoving—involving players such as linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar, offensive tackles Barry Richardson and Jose Valdez, guards Quinn Ojinnaka and Harvey Dahl, defensive end Eugene Sims, and rookies Isaiah Pead and Janoris Jenkins.

This is healthy and normal in camp, with everybody competing for roster spots.

The Rams are definitely settled with Jenkins as one of the team’s two starting cornerbacks. Jenkins has taken nearly all of the first-team reps opposite Cortland Finnegan, who also had an interception on Friday.

Center Scott Wells hasn’t practiced yet in camp, and his replacement, Robert Turner, has not looked good in live 11-on-11 competition.

Also not practicing Friday were cornerback Jerome Murphy, due to soreness, and fullback Todd Anderson, an undrafted rookie from Michigan State. Safety Darian Stewart and cornerback Josh Gordy were limited to individual workouts because of hamstring concerns.

A report from Friday’s practice at Rams Park is included in the video. Pardon the stammering. Next time I’ll make sure my notes are legible an hour after I write them.

The team’s scrimmage is Saturday at the Edward Jones Dome, and I’ll post another video and report from there.

 

Quotations and information obtained first-hand.

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