Throughout training camp, Rams insider Myles Simmons will share his top 10 observations from each practice.
1) As usual, Los Angeles began practice with a special teams period. On Sunday, the period included Johnny Hekker and the punting unit working against a scout team. On some attempts, All-Pro returner Pharoh Cooper fielded the kick and gave a return, while on others special teams coordinator John Fassel handed him a ball to give an exact look.
On the last rep, left tackle Andrew Whitworth — fresh off stretching on the other field — started at the line of scrimmage, faked a swim move as if he were a gunner, then ran down the field as if he were part of the punt team. And he was one of the players leading the pack.
Check out the top shots from Day 10 of 2018 Rams Training Camp at UC Irvine.
2) With pads back on, the Rams went through one-on-one drills with quarterbacks, wide receivers, and cornerbacks with the line of scrimmage close to the goal line. Notably from the period…
- Wideout Brandin Cooks got things started with a nice catch in the middle of the end zone against cornerback Troy Hill. Head coach Sean McVay would later say that cornerback Aqib Talib (ankle) was held out of practice for precautionary reasons.
- Wide receiver Mike Thomas couldn’t quite pull down a fade on his first rep, but was able to snag a comeback route in the front right corner of the end zone for his second.
- Receiver Cooper Kupp used a nice move to shake off slot corner Nickell Robey-Coleman. Kupp went to the outside to make a reception, as Robey-Coleman bit on the inside move.
- Quarterback Sean Mannion connected with wideout Pharoh Cooper in the back of the end zone on the right. Cooper opened his arms Gladiator style to celebrate, and the crowd responded with a cheer.
3) Overall, Robey-Coleman had a strong day in the slot. He intercepted a pass intended for Cooks down the left sideline in 7-on-7 with the first-team offense competing against the first-team defense. At first it looked as if Cooks would be able to make the reception, but the ball went out of his arms and into Robey-Coleman’s for a turnover.
4) During a red zone 7-on-7 period, Mannion connected with Thomas on a pass at about the three-yard line. The ball placement allowed Thomas to lower his shoulder and get past a defender into the end zone. At this point, the Rams were going second-team offense vs. second-team defense.
5) McVay set up a scenario where the ones on offense and defense went against one another in a two-minute drill. With 57 seconds left on the clock and only one timeout, the offense needed a field goal. Quarterback Jared Goff connected with Cooks in the middle of the field to set up Greg Zuerlein for a long — but makable — attempt from 53-yards out. Because there were no officials on hand and Zuerlein’s kicks were so high, there was some question as to whether or not the league’s 2017 leading scorer made his first attempt. Fassel then had Zuerlein kick again, and the result remained a bit of a mystery. Zuerlein, however, did clearly nail his 54-yard attempt from the previous special teams period, for what it’s worth.
6) Defensive lineman Ethan Westbrooks made consecutive nice plays during an 11-on-11 period with the first-team defense competing against the scout offense. First, Westbrooks shed a reserve right guard to come in and make a tackle for loss on running back Malcolm Brown. Then Westbrooks made his way into the backfield to tip a screen pass, blowing up the play. Having registered 2.0 sacks against the Ravens on Thursday, Westbrooks has continued to make an impact.
7) On another ones-vs-ones compete drill, the offense won with a one-play drive. Goff connected with wide receiver Robert Woods, who was wide open on the right side, for about a 20-yard touchdown pass. On Rams Camp Live following practice, right tackle Rob Havenstein called the play his “Fuego Moment” of the day.
8) On a later 11-on-11 play, Goff connected with Brown on a pass over the middle that ended up as a touchdown. Brown was lined up wide to start the play, giving the fourth-year back out of Texas an opportunity to show his versatility.
9) Robey-Coleman broke up a pass late in the session with the first defense taking on the scout offense. Cooper was the intended red-zone target, but Robey-Coleman was there to swat the pass away. Aside from his interception, it was Robey-Coleman’s second PBU of the day. It was a banner session for the for the USC product, who pumped his fist in celebration after his final pass breakup.
10) As they have a few times during training camp, the Rams finished Sunday’s practice with an extra 11-on-11 period for younger players. It’s an opportunity for many of those who wouldn’t otherwise get reps during practice to become more acquainted with the playbook. That’s especially important as those players are likely going to receive the most snaps during preseason games.