IRVINE, Calif. – The Rams held their first acclimation practice of 2023 training camp on Wednesday at UC Irvine, one highlighted by wide receiver Cooper Kupp in action, the youthful energy heard and seen throughout, position battles at left tackle and center, and more.
Here are 10 things that stood out from the session.
1) Competition at left tackle and center: The Rams consistently rotated Joe Noteboom and Alaric Jackson at left tackle, and Coleman Shelton and Brian Allen at center throughout Wednesday's practice. "Whether or not those guys are always at those spots, that's to be determined, but I do think that they'll positively push each other and and get the most out of each other," head coach Sean McVay said.
3) Going deep: Rookie quarterback Stetson Bennett showed his ability to make off-schedule plays when he scrambled right, directed wide receiver Demarcus Robinson to go deep, then hit Robinson for a long completion. It was likewise a nice grab by Robinson, who leaped and fully-extended his arms to make the catch over the defensive back in coverage.
4) Touchdown Tyler: Stafford connected with Tyler Higbee in the corner of the endzone for a touchdown on a perfectly-placed pass.
5) Youthful energy most noticeable on defense: There are lots of young playmakers in the Rams' secondary, with Derion Kendrick andCobie Durant both shining and drawing praise from McVay for their performances on Wednesday. A pass breakup by rookie safety Tanner Ingle on a Stafford pass intended for Kupp during team drills drew especially boisterous reactions from Ingle's defensive teammates.
6) Nacua picks up where he left off: Nacua stayed consistent with the way he performed in the spring, garnering praise from McVay for playing with aggressive hands, showing how he understood the nuances of the way they want their receivers to work the edges and separate, and showing where he fits in the concepts of the offense.
7) First look at Sony Michel in second stint with Rams: Signed after the Rams concluded their offseason program, Michel – wearing No. 24 – was on the field Wednesday.
8) Two feet down: Robinson also had an impressive toe-tap catch near the sideline on a pass from quarterback Brett Rypien.
9) Sideline swat: Besides Ingle's pass breakup, another play that fired up the Rams secondary was cornerback Robert Rochell's pass breakup on a Stafford pass intended for Kupp during team drills.
10) Closing time: Rookie safety Rashad Torrence had a perfectly-timed interception to end practice, jumping in front of Rypien's pass over the middle during redzone work. Torrence was then followed by his defensive teammates celebrating the play as he ran down the sideline after making the play.