It may be Samson Ebukam's second year in the league, but 2018 still represents the outside linebacker's first set of OTAs. Because of his school schedule, Ebukam missed the majority of the club's Phase III activities last season.
As such, he is not taking this period for granted. Ebukam's focused on continuing to understand the defensive system in order to play with a stronger sense of confidence.
"It's my first time doing this, so kinda just taking everything as it comes and trying to get better every day,"
Ebukam said. "I'm able to learn the intricacies of the defense and see how everything fits more, instead of just how I came in last year when everything was happening so fast."
It's a fortunate situation for the second-year player who, at this point, is in line for a starting position at outside linebacker this season. Ebukam showed flashes of his potential in 2017, recording 31 tackles, 2.0 sacks and one forced fumble through 16 games.
He was also able to step in seamlessly for Connor Barwin in two games last season. But with both Barwin and former starter Robert Quinn no longer with the franchise, Ebukam will be asked to take on a much larger role in his second year.
"Whenever the starter gets traded or taken out of the team that just gives the next person the opportunity to step up," he said recently.
"I'm just trying to be coachable as much as possible and show on film that I am getting better every day — just that one percent better," Ebukam continued. "If I'm able to do that and everybody else is able to do that then we are gonna be tough to beat."
By the end of minicamp, the Eastern Washington product is hoping to understand the playbook more fully,
believing that if he "can play fast, then I can make more plays."
"I want to be able to understand the playbook to the max, both SAM and WIL, and just 'slap' so that whatever they call I can click," he said. " So that when the offense, it's going fast, I can be able to play football instead of thinking."
And with the speed and tempo of the Rams offense, Ebukam will be challenged all throughout the offseason. Ebukam says that if he and the rest of the defense are able to "play as hard as we can without any mental mistakes" against their own teammates, then the unit will be in good shape come the regular season.
"In the game, it's just going to be a lot easier because I don't think any other offense does as [many] little things as this offense does," he explained. "So, if we're able to play against our offense and be good for it then we're going to be in a good place."