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Practice Report 7/30: Day 1 in L.A.

Posted Jul 30, 2016

The Rams began their 2016 training camp at UC Irvine on Saturday afternoon. Team insider Myles Simmons has the rundown on the day's biggest headlines.

The Rams got their first training camp back in Southern California started in front of over 10,000 loud and energetic fans on a sunny Saturday afternoon in Irvine.

Here are a few of the top storylines for July 30.

BRINGING THE ENERGY

There’s always a little extra juice for the first day of training camp. But given all the Rams have gone through since the end of the 2015 season, it’s easy to understand why the players would be hyped up to begin Saturday’s practice.

“We talked to the players about it last night — that there was a chance that there were going to be quite a few people here. And they were really excited,” head coach Jeff Fisher said. “As a matter of fact, we gathered them up right before we got started just to calm them down.

“When the atmosphere is the way it was, [with] the fans, and the support — there’s a tendency to go a little bit quicker earlier in practice than you should,” Fisher added. “And I just encouraged them to make sure they got warmed up and got to full speed so we didn’t have any issues.”

Once that happened, Los Angeles was able to get down to business. Fisher said he was pleased with the way Day 1 went, noting the players did well to stay in shape between the end of the offseason program and camp check-in.

“The [conditioning] tests were better than I’ve ever seen,” Fisher said.

Fisher said he thinks one reason the players started camp that way is because they developed a strong bond during OTAs. The uniqueness of the situation — where many players were living at the Oxnard facility — made the offseason program a little more like training camp. That in turn brought the team closer, and made players want to stick around the L.A. area to train together — despite the Rams not having their own facility during the interim period.

“As you know, we really didn’t have a place where they could work,” Fisher said. “They selected three of four facilities here in town, and they just stayed in town, and they just worked. And our conditioning tests reflected that.”

We’ll see how all that translates once games begin, but it doesn’t hurt to get off to a good start.

GOFF’S FIRST DAY

Rookie quarterback Jared Goff is known for being a particularly even-keel person. But on the day of his first training camp practice, even he felt some butterflies.

“A little bit, yeah,” Goff said. “It’s your first training camp practice — similar to my first rookie minicamp practice and my first OTA practice. And now [we’re] into training camp, and we’re starting the actual football season now, so it’s kind of the same feeling. You go out there and you kind of get the jitters out and get comfortable.”

Goff was one of the players who stayed in Southern California during the break, and Fisher said he could tell the Cal product made some good strides in that period.

“He spent a lot of time — as you would expect from him — in the book this summer, throwing to the receivers,” Fisher said. “He has a much better feel now than he did when he left.”

“I definitely feel 10-times more comfortable — much more comfortable with everything that we do,” Goff said.

As training camp goes along, Fisher said the most important thing for Goff is to make progress. It’s clichéd for a reason — the rookie needs to take strides and improve a bit each day.

“He gets the huddle, he gets his teammates — he gets that stuff,” Fisher said. “He understands what’s ahead. It’s just the reps and getting the experience. Completing balls and making decisions — and making mistakes.

“You can’t expect anybody to go through a mistake-free camp,” Fisher continued. “And he’s not going to either, particularly because, as you know, you learn from it. You need to experience those things. So you need to experience those things, and they’re OK right now.”

And for the even-keel Goff, that falls right in line for how he carries himself in the field and in the classroom.

“I think I just want to get comfortable,” Goff said of his camp goals. “Get ready to go, and get ready to play, and get ready to hopefully help this team as best I can.”

EXTRA POINTS

— Earlier this week, Los Angeles placed Rob Havenstein on the preseason physically unable to perform list with a foot injury. He’s able to come off it at any time before the regular season kicks in, but Fisher said it may be a little while before that happens.

“Rob’s had a little foot issue during the offseason, and he’s still not quite ready,” Fisher said. “So, [with] PUP — this situation can be week-to-week [or] day-to-day. Really don’t have much more information on it. But it’s going to be some time — maybe a few weeks before Rob gets back. He’s working very, very hard.” 

— After an excused absence for the offseason program, safety T.J. McDonald is back for training camp. He said on Saturday he’s learned not to take anything for granted, especially when it comes to playing the game he loves. One of the toughest parts about the whole situation was not being able to improve with his teammates every day.

“Anybody who knows me knows how much I love ‘ball, so it was tough being away,” McDonald said. “But, I’m back now and I’m having a great time. Just trying to get better and hopefully will get in a good season this year.”

— Closing the book on Nick Foles, Fisher said the team and the player were able to come to an agreement that worked out well for both parties. L.A. released Foles earlier this week.

“It was a good situation for us and Nick,” Fisher said. “We’ve been talking to his people throughout the offseason and kind of felt like this was the direction we’re heading. And we got a good deal worked out so Nick has an opportunity to go on with his career, and we have an opportunity to move forward with some very talented young quarterbacks.” 

— Finally, Fisher noted Los Angeles has placed running back Tre Mason on the Reserve/Did Not Report list.

“It was our only option,” Fisher said. “I haven’t personally spoken with Tre since the season ended — when we had the check-out physicals. I tried numerous times after the incident to reach him, and I was unsuccessful. Been communicating through the offseason with his agent, Bus Cook, had minimal conversation with family members. But Tre has made a decision not to communicate with us — not to talk, not talking to his teammates.

“Right now we’re more concerned with Tre Mason’s wellbeing than we are his football career,” Fisher continued. “We’re going to continue to try to reach him to see where he’s at. But right now, the best thing for us to do is to put him on a did not report list, so he does not count against our 90-man roster.”