Mike Franke: August 10 camp report
Training Camp Report from Rams Park
Very light workout for the Rams Friday night, mainly a walkthrough as they prepare for their preseason opener against the Colts. No contact, not much full-speed work and about a million swing passes, so RamView will be similarly low-impact.
* QB: Sam Bradford continues to look fine, not that he got much of any kind of test in this practice. In team drills, most everything he threw was a swing pass or a dumpoff. We can say this Ė Bradfordís developing good chemistry with Lance Kendricks and Isaiah Pead. Kellen Clemens and Austin Davis continue to look inconsistent, while Tom Brandstater continues to get little playing time. Clemens continues to baffle with occasional short-range inaccuracy, while Davis sometimes just baffles. One 7-on-7 play at the goal line, Davis suddenly starts scrambling in the pocket for no reason, then fires a ball well behind Matthew Mulligan. What the heck was that? Davis did make a strong back-footed throw for a TD another time. Maybe Clemens should try to learn that throw; he had the only deep throw I saw all night, for Brian Quick, and came up probably 5 yards short.
* RB: Daryl Richardsonís down time didnít hurt him on the depth chart, heís RB3 and looks very fast. Steven Jackson was rested another day. I wonder if the Rams are going to keep two fullbacks. Doesnít look like Brit Miller or Ovie Mughelli is going anywhere to me.
* Wide receivers: I didnít see the early passing drills, but not otherwise seeing any drops by the wideouts, it goes down as a good-hands day in my book. Rookies Brian Quick and Chris Givens got the most work, playing with the ones, twos and threes. Quick had beaten his man on the only deep ball I saw thrown, but the pass was well short. Greg Salas and Austin Pettis flashed good hands on the toughest catches I saw. Salas had 2 or 3 catches in goal line work. Brandon Gibson and Danario Alexander remained sidelined.
* Tight ends: Lance Kendricks caught everything thrown to him, so thereís news. Corey Harkey caught a couple of TDs in goal-line situations, and DeAngelo Peterson also caught one. The Rams may also have a dark-horse blocking TE candidate; more on him below.
* O-line: Nothing was ever going to happen tonight to change the depth chart, so it is still, in the stunner of camp as far as Iím concerned, Barry Richardson at right tackle ahead of Jason Smith. I didnít think Smith looked that bad last Saturday in the Dome, nor that Richardson looked that good. Rodger Saffold remains out, which put Quinn Ojinnaka at LT and Brian Mattison at LG. And I believe Robert Turner at center. So, isnít that awesome. The Ramsí starting offensive line is three guys acquired or intended to be second-stringers and another playing out of position. This is going to protect Sam Bradford better than last year how again?
* Defensive line/LB: It looks like Josh Hull may be the official 2nd-unit MLB, sending Alex Hoffman-Ellis down to the threes. Twos at LB were Hull, Rocky McIntosh and Aaron Brown. The Hoff had a couple of misplays down on the goal line. He dropped a interception thrown right at him and got a step out of position another time to give up a TD pass right over the middle. Trevor Laws remains out.
* Secondary: Trumaine Johnson made a couple of nice plays. He broke up a quick out to Mike Campbell and had an interception later. Also got some time at nickel with the ones. Probably the defensive standout tonight. I donít remember even seeing Bradley Fletcher, and Darian Stewart also sat the whole thing out, though he told a fan he was ďjust chilliníĒ when asked if heís hurt. All the same, Craig Dahl has to be called the starter there, given all the time Stewartís missed.
* Special teams: Looked like the placekickers went 5-for-6. Garrett Lindholm faded one wide right from probably around 50 yards. Pead looked good as a kick returner, catching the ball well, and especially catching it with forward momentum that allowed him to get up to speed quickly.
* Strategery: Very light practice, with a lot of goal line work, the usual share of special teams work and quite a few turnover drills for the defensive units. The DBs did a loose ball scoop-and-run drill and the d-line did their best to run a tip drill. A lot of focus on play-action passing at the goal line. There was an end-around for Pettis, but the big wrinkle was a goal line tackle-eligible pass to Jason Smith. I forgot he was a converted tight end until I saw that play; he moves as well as most of the tight ends the Rams have on the roster. I donít think he quite got to the pass, though. Then again, thatís pretty typical for a Rams tight end, too.
* Cheers: Címon, St. Louis, where would you rather be on a beautiful summer Friday evening than watching guys practicing football? Temperature was just in the low 80s with a cool breeze, but the crowd was very small, I doubt over 500. I expected a lot larger crowd from the line that had already snaked out down the street and past the main buildings a half hour before practice was to start. The lesson there is not to let a long line fool you. The Rams must have tipped the local press off about the level of tonightís workout; I didnít see much of anyone of note.