After each training camp practice, senior writer/team insider Myles Simmons will share his top observations from the session. Here are the notes from Saturday, July 27.
1) With practice beginning around 3:30 in the afternoon, quarterback Jared Goff was the first on the field at about 3:10. It was a beautiful day in Irvine, with temperatures hovering around 80 degrees throughout practice.
2) The moment everyone’s been waiting for came early on in practice — running back Todd Gurley took a handoff from Goff and opened it up a little as he ran down the field. After practice, Gurley told reporters he felt good and that he enjoyed being on the field with his teammates again.
3) There was a strong fan presence as Los Angeles got training camp started on Saturday, and the crowd definitely enjoyed any time Gurley did anything on the field. Case in point — Gurley caught a simple swing pass in individual drills from Goff and the crowd went wild.
4) Cooper Kupp started out practice working on the side with trainers and assistant offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch. But then he got in with the offense as it worked on screens against air. Kupp also caught a few passes from Goff during individual drills. He was a significant part of the team’s 11-on-11 sessions as well.
5) While head coach Sean McVay downplayed the notion of running back Darrell Henderson getting first-team snaps — the Rams are rotating in a lot of players, McVay said — Henderson looks the part. During one-on-one drills, Henderson caught a slant going from left to right and it’s easy to see why the Rams like him. McVay credited Henderson’s work ethic and running backs coach Skip Peete for getting the rookie RB up to speed.
6) During 7-on-7 drills, Robert Woods had a nice catch along the right sideline on an intermediate route. He grabbed it out of the reach of cornerback Aqib Talib, for a completion that would have gotten the offense past the sticks for a first down. Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips waved his arms to signal incomplete, but it looked like No. 17 got two feet down. To that end, cornerbacks coach Aubrey Pleasant yelled out from the sideline, “Hey, good throw 16! Good throw!”
Check out photos of the veterans arriving for training camp.
7) While Goff and Woods got Talib then, the cornerback got his later in the 7-on-7 period. On this particular play, the defense had strong coverage on all the receivers. Goff rolled to his right and looking to make something happen, threw a pass intended for Woods in the end zone. But the ball floated, Talib camped under it and picked it off — running up the left sideline. As he walked back following the play, Phillips gave him a fist bump. Goff later joked in his press conference that he told Talib he threw it to him on purpose.
8) During that 7-on-7 period, punter Johnny Hekker was on the same field booming coffin-corner punts down the field on the left side. Some of the punts were going 60 yards in the air, with Hekker standing at about the 50-yard line and the ball landing out of the end zone.
9) Henderson made a couple of nice plays in 11-on-11 drills that illustrated his versatility out of the backfield. Keep in mind that he made the plays while on the second-team offense facing the first-team defense. But on the first play, Henderson motioned out of the backfield and then caught a pass in the flat. Then on the next play, he caught a screen on the left side. It’s not a direct comparison, but as general manager Les Snead has said, Henderson does bring that “Alvin Kamara element” to an offense. He should be fun to watch with pads.
10) At the end of practice, Goff and backup quarterback Blake Bortles participated in a friendly competition of target practice. Goff fared a bit better than Bortles in their respective attempts with assistant QBs coach Zac Robinson feeding them the footballs.