Rams Practice Notes: Monday August 2

Steven Jackson and Chris Ogbonnaya: your #1 and #2 backs?
Steven Jackson and Chris Ogbonnaya, your #1 and #2 backs?

I wasn’t able to make it to yesterday afternoon’s practice, out of some misplaced dedication to my newfound desk job. I looked up at 3:00 though, and found my entire department empty. Wha?? Fortunately, the intrepid Rams fan @21bird did make it, and started blasting away tweets on what he saw — starting by breaking the news that Danario Alexander had stuck around to watch practice. Bird had a lot of good observations on the defense, something that I wasn’t able to comment much on from Saturday. Here’s what he saw, and some sweet pictures taken from his iPhone.

@RamsHerd Rams goin “live” and Jerome Murphy just crushed 71 on a sweep right.

The rookie corner was drafted high because of his physical play. Watching him in shorts and shells on Saturday, he looked like a caged animal. This is a player who likes to hit. Put him and Kevin Payne in the secondary at the same time, and we start to generate an intimidation factor…

Although a great hitter Murphey seems to be lost in coverage

… But of course, he has to earn his place among the starters in order to have that on-field impact. From what we know of Spagnuolo, he’s much more likely to play a man who doesn’t give up the big play, over a man who might both give up and create big plays…

Justin King31 show great cvr skills and ball awareness
Justin King31 is running with the 1’s

… And right now, Justin King might be the front runner at CB2. He started the last four games of the regular season, and though small, is not afraid to take his cracks at opposing ballcarriers. His biggest problem last year was getting his head around, reacting to balls in the air. According to ProFootballFocus, 40 of 54 passes (74%) thrown his way were completed last year, a very high number. (Roughly 60% is average for the position in the NFL.) But these are skills that can be learned with increasing awareness of what opposing offenses want to do. The most important thing for a young corner like King, Murphy, or Fletcher, is to not lose confidence a la Tye Hill.

Bgibson and Kburton really impressive out here

Burton continues a string of good practices, something I’d like to see carried to the field. He seems to be on a mission not to become the “forgotten man” in the WR competition. And any time there’s a major change at quarterback, the opportunity arises for a new chemistry to brew up between the thrower and a new group of receivers. (One player whose name I haven’t heard much of at all is Laurent Robinson….)

Playaction boot rollout via Bradford to Fendi across the body amazing!

So far in camp, Fendi has shown really soft hands, and a natural ability to catch the ball high and in stride. This guy has so many tools, I can’t help but be excited about the possibility of putting him on the field as a weapon. With his size and speed, he’s a matchup nightmare. Last year, the Rams kept three TEs — blocking specialist (with good hands) Billy Bajema, primary pass-catcher Randy McMichael, and all-around threat Daniel Fells. This year, Fells was expected to graduate into McMichael’s role, but Onobun could potentially leapfrog him, with Hoomanawanui as the primary block-first TE. Of course, I may have watched his Pro Day video one too many times. He still has to earn it on the field against real competition.

@RamsHerd overheard Bgibson talking to Feely about this St Louis heat being the worst he’s ever been through(lol) wait till tomorrow 100+

Yup, and I’m going to be out there this evening. If my hands aren’t too sweaty to type, I’ll be live-tweeting some more.