One item I totally omitted from my in-practice tweets, and from this morning’s in-depth training camp thoughts — not intentionally, but it was easy to miss because it felt so routine. The team scrimmaged 11-on-11, treating our line of the fence as the end zone, offense in traditional white jerseys and defense in navy blue with their white numbers facing us. Feeley helmed the first teamers, and Steven Jackson took the handoff, cut once behind Goldberg at RT and burst through a couple defensive tags, finally breaking a mischevious slap by James Laurinaitis before taking the ball to the house, where he received a huge welcoming round of cheers and applause from the fans.
Like an idiot, I didn’t realize at the time that this was Jackson’s first appearance at anything approaching full speed game action since his offseason surgery. How did he look? Damn fine.
More notes from other camp reporters after the break, but first get yourself pumped up for the season with this video put together by @CGI_Ram.
Bill Coats of the Post-Dispatch chimes in on the brewing camp battle between Danny Amendola and Mardy Gilyard:
“We know they’re both skilled,” coach Steve Spagnuolo said. “We’ve got to get Mardy in an NFL game first to see really what we’ve got. We know what Danny can do.”
Even understanding that there might not be room for both players on the final roster, Amendola insisted that he welcomed the competition. “Oh, without a doubt; I love it,” he said. “It’s what makes everybody better, that pressure for a spot and competing. … My main goal is to try to find a role on this team and try to fulfill it the best I can.”
– STLToday: Gilyard, Amendola compete for same jobs
Jim Thomas reported some feistiness from Sunday’s pads-on, full-contact practice, which is to be expected. Jacob Bell and Chris Long exchanged extracurriculars — perhaps Bell was objecting to some of the MMA techniques that Long has picked up, including using the long bones of his forearms like blades to swat away the clutches of opposing offensive blockers. Nice to see the newly-mohawked Long starting this camp out with intensity — a far cry from his struggles and frustrations from August of a year ago.
Thomas also reported on a new drill in practice that will be great fun to watch:
Spagnuolo scripted several live tackling periods into his first Rams training camp a year ago, so it was no surprise to the players that he’s doing it again this preseason. But there was an added wrinkle Sunday, when the Rams engaged in what’s known as the Oklahoma Drill. Namely, one blocker, one defender, one ballcarrier. And live tackling. For most of the Rams, it’s been awhile since they’ve taken part in an Oklahoma Drill.
“(Since) high school,” defensive end James Hall said, laughing. “It was fun, though. Coach told us (Saturday) evening that he was going to put it in, so guys were pretty jacked up about it. We got after it a little bit.”
Spagnuolo, by the way, said it’s called the Rams Drill in these parts. “I mean, we’ve got (Sam) Bradford,” Spagnuolo said. “We don’t need to be calling drills Oklahoma Drills.”
– STLToday: Rams pick up the intensity at practice
Thomas also got the scoop on Bradford’s rookie hazing, which apparently involved a bit of music that wasn’t so soothing to the savage beast [emphasis mine].
“The song was terrible,” defensive tackle Clifton Ryan said. “You barely could hear him. … I wasn’t even paying attention it was so bad. I just blocked it out. You know, he had his volume on like ’2.’ He needed it about on ’15.’
“We’re trying to break him out of his shell a little bit — he’s kind of shy from my observation. He’s got to realize it’s time for him to take the lead and be more vocal.”
One more note (but hardly the last — seriously, nobody does this better) from Thomas’ treasure trove focuses on a couple of standout individual performances:
There was plenty of mashing going on elsewhere. In a matchup of rookies during 11-on-11, fifth-round defensive end Hall Davis jacked up free-agent running back Keith Toston, who was trying to pass block. Toston nearly was knocked completely over.
During one-on-one pass-blocking drills, the standouts easily were [James] Hall on defense and rookie tackle Rodger Saffold on offense. Saffold didn’t give up the edge as a pass blocker, displaying smooth footwork. And Hall, well, he never tiptoes into training camp. The 11-year veteran always comes out at full speed.
The Globe-Democrat’s Howard Balzer quoted Coach Spags on the weekend’s turnout:
“Tremendous, and I’m glad you said that because that’s exciting to see everybody out here. I hope they keep coming. I’m hoping that having some of these practices at 6:15 at night will make it easier for people to come here. The guys love it when they’re out there. I hope we can do things good for them when we’re out here practicing as well.”
– St Louis Globe-Democrat: Training Camp Notes, July 31
And finally this morning, ESPN’s Mike Sando let the radio and Twitter world know that he’s coming to visit Rams camp from August 14-17, in hopes of catching Bradford’s first live snaps in the Rams’ first preseason game.