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From the Podium: Kevin O'Connell and Jalen Ramsey preview joint practice with Cowboys

IRVINE, Calif. – Offensive coordinator Kevin O'Connell and cornerback Jalen Ramsey each met with local media Friday following the eighth practice of 2021 Rams Training Camp presented by UNIFY Financial Credit Union, discussing Saturday's joint practice with the Cowboys in Oxnard, their thoughts on how Day 8 of camp went, and more.

Here are some of the highlights and key takeaways from those conversations, which you can watch in their entirety below:

"Just competitive reps against some different looks. We get a lot of great work against our defense, but they're pretty unique in how they do things from a standpoint of the philosophical way they play certain routes and the pressures that we see." – O'Connell

  • After preseason joint practices were cancelled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they have returned this year, giving the Rams a chance to test their offense against another team's defense, and their defense against another team's offense.
  • While they've been getting great looks against their own defense – No. 1 in the league in 2020 – going against a different one on Saturday a valuable evaluation opportunity.

"Just like the running back position, I think we'll all be watching to see those guys make a lot of plays as we start to get competitive reps against other opponents." – O'Connell

  • Similar to running back, the tight end position has lots of young talent the Rams will get a chance to learn more about during Saturday's joint practice (and eventually, joint practices with the Raiders).
  • O'Connell said it will be fun watching Kendall Blanton, Jacob Harris, Brycen Hopkins and Kyle Markway get some "real solid opportunities" in those competitive environments.

"Going up against different guys, competing against different people, different body types, different styles. I think that's what we can get out of it." – Ramsey

  • For Ramsey, Saturday's opportunity will challenge the Rams "in different ways than you're used to."
  • Given the starters won't be playing in the preseason, "I guess this is our preseason you could say," Ramsey said.

"I have a couple of little reasons for myself, but those are big things." – Ramsey

  • For Ramsey, his new jersey number represents a few big things. For one, Five in the mirror is two – the number he was originally pursuing.
  • Five is also a number of balance, Ramsey said. "Like in the Bible – there are five commandments towards God and there are five commandments towards people. Five is the number of grace and God gives me a lot of that grace and mercy. So, I'm super thankful for that."

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