Brockers Settles In

Posted May 12, 2012

Still riding the wave of a whirlwind past two weeks, Rams first-round draft pick Michael Brockers arrived in St. Louis not quite over how his life has changed since he had his name called as the 14th pick in the draft.

In fact, the simple act of showing up at the ContinuityX training center for his first professional practices as this weekend’s minicamp was enough to leave Brockers a bit starry eyed.

“Oh man, I’m still living the surrealness of being here and playing for a professional team and being in a Rams practice jersey,” Brockers said. “I got caught up in the moment a little bit, but it’ll be better as we go on. I’ll take this day as my learning day and the rest is just getting better.”

Brockers and his teammates will move on soon enough but this weekend’s minicamp – or as coach Jeff Fisher prefers to call it – orientation gives Brockers and his rookie teammates an opportunity to get some of those butterflies out and get accustomed to how things are done.

Given a little time to reflect on how far he’s come, Brockers can’t help but feel a little overwhelmed at the changes his life is about to see.

“Like, how did I get here? Just looking at my past and everything I went through, I made it,” Brockers said. “I’m happy about that.”

Brockers didn’t get much of a chance to show his power or strength over the weekend because the Rams weren’t in pads and there was no hitting amongst the linemen.

But that didn’t stop Fisher from coming away impressed with his prized youngster in the middle.

“I would say his quickness, his change of direction,” Fisher said. “It’s hard to measure his strength out here other than on the bags. But he has got great quickness, long arms and he’s going to be an impact player for us.”

Easing the transition for Brockers this weekend was the presence of a pair of former LSU teammates looking to make an impression.

Guard T-Bob Hebert and tight end DeAngelo Peterson played with Brockers in Baton Rouge. All three were able to lean on one another as they settled in.

 “I have somebody to sit with at lunch and breakfast and don’t have to be isolated to myself,” Brockers said.
SETTLING IN: If cornerback Janoris Jenkins was nervous or anxious about his first practices at the NFL level, it sure didn’t show.

Jenkins was all over the place in the two day rookie minicamp, covering like a blanket in passing drills and handling punt returns like an old veteran. He said his approach is to come in with an open mind and get to work on learning the playbook as quick as possible.

“Basically (I’m) just going to take coaching as a player,” Jenkins said. “(And I’m) helping everybody around me get better.”

Jenkins spent much of the weekend squaring off against rookie receivers Brian Quick and Chris Givens, providing some spirited matchups for on lookers to watch.

When the veterans arrives for OTAs beginning on Tuesday, Jenkins will get even more look, something he says he isn’t worried about yet.

“Right now, I’m focused on right now, right now,” Jenkins said. “I can’t think about next week. I gotta learn the playbook; get to play with the rookies, so that we all can be on the same page.”

MOVING ON: With nearly 40 rookies at this weekend’s minicamp and plenty of turnover on the roster, among the coaching staff and in the front office, Fisher was asked point blank whether he thinks the Rams are in a rebuilding year.
While Fisher has acknowledged that the Rams are trying to build a program that can sustain success over the long haul, he’s not conceding anything to anyone when it comes to what he expects of his team this year.

“No, we deleted last year, so like I said, we’re putting players in place and we’re going to go out and try to win as many games as we can,” Fisher said.

FUNDAMENTALS: The main goal of this weekend’s “orientation” as Fisher likes to call it wasn’t to try to force a cram session on his youngsters and wear them out in their first time on a NFL practice field.

Instead, Fisher said he’s looking to see many of the basic functions performed well before moving on to the more complicated stuff.

“Initially I’m looking at, in 11-on-11 period, I’m looking for any poor alignments or penalty things like that to correct,” Fisher said. “Mostly just watching a player. I’ll pick out a player on each play, and keep in mind; we’ve got draft choices here that I’m familiar with. And honestly, we’re not too familiar with the undrafted college free agents, so just trying to familiarize ourselves with them.”

All things considered, Fisher was pleased with how the rookies fared in their first indoctrination into the league.

“We didn’t have a quarterback-center exchange on the ground,” Fisher said. “This is the first rookie practice I’ve been associated with where that didn’t happen, so that’s good. It looked like they were learning well. We got three or four coverages in on defense and enough to have a team period on offense, so guys are moving around.”

Overall, Fisher considered the work done on Friday and Saturday a step in the right direction. In fact, he’s taking the rookie class to the Cardinals baseball game on Sunday as a sort of reward and kickoff to what will be a busy next few weeks.