The Los Angeles Rams are back at the University of California, Irvine for the second consecutive year for the official start of 2017 Training Camp, presented by AT&T. Rookies will report for camp tomorrow, while veteran players will have a few more days to prepare, arriving to campus on Friday.
With practice just around the corner, kicking off on Saturday, July 29th and preseason action just a few weeks away, it is safe to say there are several storylines that will be on every fan's mind for the next month. And as we gear up for the official end to the offseason, let's take a look at five of training camp's biggest storylines to look out for.
1. The Rams QB Corps
There has been no shortage of headlines surrounding Rams quarterbacks during the offseason. In particular, all eyes have been on the 2016 first-round draft pick Jared Goff, who is still looking for his first win as a starting QB in the NFL. And though last season's growing pains are one thing, it is important to note that Goff is back for training camp with a year of experience under his belt and an entire offseason under new head coach Sean McVay. You can expect him to be a central focus of this year's training camp as he solidifies himself as a leader on the team.
But, Goff isn't the only QB to watch over the next month: Backups Sean Mannion and Dan Orlovsky, who recently agreed to join the Rams, are also looking to impress at camp.
2. A New System Continues to Take Hold
The Rams are 13 years removed from their last playoff appearance and 14 years removed from their last winning season, two facts that new Head Coach Sean McVay will look to change this year. But, a winning regular season starts with a positive training camp and preseason.
Looking back on the offseason, McVay hoped to implement three different phases focused on establishing a new team identity, mastering the new system, and coming together as a team. As the players come onto the field for training camp on Saturday, McVay will look to breathe new life into his team and rebuild an offense that struggled last season, while implementing a new system on defense under Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips. Training camp brings it with it the perfect opportunity for a young team and fresh coaching staff to prepare for their first game at the Coliseum on August 12th.
3. Rookie Standouts
And now for the players who have yet to hit the field in a Rams uniform...the rookies. Training camp will present these young men with their first opportunity to showcase their skills on field in full pads. And while I'll leave it to the expert, Myles Simmons, to give you a taste of which rookies may have the biggest early impact, I will tell you that it would be wise to keep an eye on all of the Rams new players during training camp. There is still a lot of time before the regular season opener, and each one of these guys will be eager to make their case for a starting role.
4. A Fresh-Faced Coaching Staff
Along with a slew of new names to memorize on the training camp roster, fans can look forward to a fresh lineup of coaches as well at this year's training camp. One of the storylines to follow here comes straight from the staff itself, especially those on the offensive side of the ball.
With a new head coach and new coaching system, come new assistant coaches. Keep an eye on offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur and offensive line coach, Aaron Kromer who will play a huge role in reinvigorating the Rams offense which averaged just 14 points and 262.7 yards per game last season.
5. Year Number Three for Gurley
Todd Gurley, a name I'm sure you are all familiar with, is another player to watch and storyline to follow during this year's training camp. After an impressive rookie season, the running back did not see any games with over 100 yards rushing in his sophomore campaign.
While Gurley will be one of the main offensive vets to watch out for this offseason, don't look towards the former Rookie of the Year to discuss his individual performance. Gurley has made it known that he will follow suit in a "team-oriented" attitude, looking at how the entire roster can improve overall, and what they can do as a team together. With the help of Kromer, and a few shifts on the line itself, look to a more open run game and an explosive Gurley to come alive during training camp.