After each training camp practice, senior writer/team insider Myles Simmons will share his top observations from the session. Here are the notes from Monday, July 29.
1) The Rams were in “shells” for Monday afternoon’s practice — meaning shoulder pads with shorts or pants with no leg pads. With that, many of the club’s veteran players like left tackle Andrew Whitworth, defensive tackle Aaron Donald, safety Eric Weddle, cornerback Aqib Talib etc. were given a veterans day off. Head coach Sean McVay said the Rams will have on full pads on Tuesday before Wednesday’s full team day off.
2) Before the special teams portion of practice started, wide receivers JoJo Natson and Austin Proehl were fielding punts from the JUGS machine. Natson was Los Angeles’ primary punt and kick returner at the end of last season, while Proehl was a member of the practice squad.
3) The offense and defense came together for half-field drills early on in practice. During those, wide receiver Cooper Kupp displayed his strong route-running ability — and a strong route concept — with a catch over the middle. Kupp was initially lined up in a stack on the left side with wide receiver Brandin Cooks, made a cut to the inside, and got easy separation to make the catch.
4) Running back Darrell Henderson seems to do something impressive every practice, and on Monday that was making a one-handed grab to pull in a swing pass on a short route to the right side.
5) At the end of the half-field drills, quarterback Jared Goff connected with wide receiver Josh Reynolds on a deep route down the middle of the field for what would’ve been a touchdown. Reynolds put a double move on the defensive backs and Goff put the ball just within reach of the wideout, who stretched out to make the grab.
6) Running back Todd Gurley received the first play of the first 11-on-11 period with a handoff up the middle. He showed pretty good burst and explosion on the play. With pads on, defenders were fitting but not really popping too much.
7) Outside linebacker Dante Fowler had a couple of impressive periods on Monday afternoon. During the first 11-on-11, he got into the backfield to stop Natson for what would’ve been a loss on an end around to the defense’s right, showing his speed and strength. Then he burst in off the edge on the defense’s left to get a pop on Henderson. His speed really makes a difference.
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8) Reynolds used his 6-foot-3 frame again in 11-on-11 drills, making a catch from Goff off play action. On an intermediate route over the middle, Reynolds stretched up to make the catch, reeling in what initially looked like it could be an incompletion. That’s an element Reynolds can bring that’s unique in the WRs room.
9) Fowler continued his strong practice with a very athletic interception along the right side of the line of scrimmage in 11-on-11 drills. With the first-team defense going against the second-team offense, Fowler leapt up and picked off a short pass before it could go anywhere.
10) Later in practice, the offense went through a “move the ball” drill with the music turned up loud on the practice field in order to emulate adverse atmospheres on the road. The offense was even going no huddle at times, so the emphasis was clearly on communication.