IRVINE, Calif. – It was a Friday of firsts in training camp, as the Rams not only practiced in front of fans for the first time in camp but also strapped on the pads for the first time.
Here are 10 Observations from Opening Day:
1) Welcome back (again), Big Whit: Former Rams left tackle Andrew Whitworth had a visible presence at Friday's practice, signing autographs alongside Lucious Smith as the two Legends present and also hopping on the main stage in the Main Fan Plaza for a Q&A. After that, he headed over to the field to watch practice, and even coached up rookie right guard Logan Bruss in between reps.
2) Welcome back, fans: As noted above, Friday kicked off the first of 11 camp practices open to fans. Every set of bleachers were filled, and some fans stood along the metal gates watching as the Rams went to work.
3) Jordan Fuller continues his progression: Following his return to live action Wednesday, Fuller was on the field again on Friday as he continues to work his way back from the ankle injury that sidelined him for the team's playoff run. Rams head coach Sean McVay on Wednesday said they were being smart with Fuller and have a specific progression in mind for him.
4) Jalen Ramsey keeps coaching: The veteran defensive back continued to be an involved mentor for the rookies and other young players in Los Angeles' secondary throughout Friday's practice.
5) Practicing smart: While it was the first day in pads, the Rams emphasized keeping players on their feet when it came to tackling. "We never really go tackle in any of these settings, but we do practice smartly, thudding guys up," McVay said afterward. "Don't want any kind of side shots, still attacking at the football. And there was a lot of really good examples of that."
6) Two picks for Cobie Durant's: Making a leaping grab, Durant got his first pick of camp by getting in front of a Matthew Stafford pass intended for Cooper Kupp near the sideline during team drills. Durant wasn't done, though. Shortly thereafter, he made another impressive grab picking off John Wolford during team drills.
7) Building chemistry: Stafford had a nice completion over the middle to wide receiver Allen Robinson II that drew some oohs from the fans on hand.
8) Fitting through tight windows: Stafford also threaded a couple passes to tight end Tyler Higbee for touchdowns against the first-team defense during competitive redzone work.
9) Greg Gaines, playmaker: Defensive lineman Greg Gaines had one of the best plays of the day by batting a ball at the line of scrimmage, then falling underneath it to secure the interception during team drills.
10) In the Nick of time: Safety Nick Scott made a great pass breakup on a Stafford pass intended for Kupp near the sideline.