Check out photos from Day 5 of the Los Angeles Rams Training Camp presented by AT&T.
The Rams finished up their second day in pads on a cloudy Wednesday afternoon before the team gets ready to take a much-needed break Thursday. Wednesday marked the team's second practice in full pads with no "live" tackling and featured a series of high-spirited drills and standout players.
Check out the top field-level observations from Rams Camp Day 5:
1. A "next man up" mentality
Earlier today we reported that defensive lineman would be out indefinitely after suffering a knee injury in yesterday's practice. Easley was expected to start for the Rams defensive line alongside nose tackle Michael Brockers and left tackle Aaron Donald.
With Donald's absence from camp and Easley's season-ending injury, the team has been forced to reevaluate their depth at the position. Head coach Sean McVay will look within to fill these voids, pushing forth a "next-man up" mentality.
"We'll find different ways to continue to develop that depth and being mindful of some of the things moving forward," McVay said in regards to Easley's injury. "But that certainly is a big loss for us. With the injuries, you have to be ready to move on and adjust to that adversity like we've talked about, so that is something that we will do."
In today's practice defensive tackles Ethan Westbrooks, Tanzel Smart and Louis Trinca-Pasat alternated reps with the first-team defense. Smart and Trinca-Pasat both spoke after practice about their new, increased roles during training camp.
"We're competing out here every day and I've got to come out here and show them why they drafted me," Smart said. "They took a chance on me and I've got to do good for them. Whatever my role is on the team, whatever they want me to do, I'm going to do it."
"Nothing is given," Trinca-Pasat added on. "Everybody has got to earn their spot, I've got to earn my spot. There's guys competing for the same position so I am just going out there and trying to get as good as I can and improve every day."
2. Injury Updates**
There were three players noticeably absent from Wednesday's practice: wideout Tavon Austin, rookie linebacker Samson Ebukam and outside linebacker Robert Quinn.
Though there is no need to worry about any injury on Quinn's part, as he was pre-excused from Day 5 of camp, McVay was able to shed some light on Austin and Ebukam's injuries.
"He's [Austin] got a minor hamstring and that is something that we're going to be monitoring day-to-day. You always want to be really careful, especially with guys that are explosive and those fast twitch guys like Tavon."
"Samson had a hamstring tweak in our special teams drill and it might be a little bit different than Tavon in terms of how careful you are," McVay went on. "But I think in terms of the severity, they are minor issues that we'll monitor day-to-day. I expect those guys to do a good job with the rehab and we'll kind of have updates as we go."
With Austin out, wideouts Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp have stepped up over the last two practices, making for a pair of reliable receivers on the first-team offense. Both had several completions from quarterback Jared Goff in today's practice and seem to be improving in their timing on various routes.
3. A glimpse at situational drills
Rather than working on one-on-ones or 7-on-7 drills, McVay chose to dedicate more time in this afternoon's practice to red zone and situational drills. The new portions of practice gave Goff a chance to work on fresh routes from the playbook and build confidence in leading the offense through a variety of situations.
"We did some different things at the end of practice, where you emphasize some two-minute situations at the end of the first half and I think those are situations that are different from what he was doing at Cal," McVay said. "But, similar in terms of the up-tempo, if you will, of what that two-minute offense dictates and he's comfortable in those settings. I thought our guys did a good job communicating both sides of the football. I thought it was a good way to end practice for us."
These drills also gave the defense a chance to showcase their physical attacking skills in the red zone.
"I think it gives our offense a great look," he said. "We've got a bunch of great players on defense and Wade [Phillips] runs a system where guys can play fast and be confident and knowing what to do and how to do it and then being able to execute their assignment and that's why I think he's a great coach."
- Former Rams player and all-time leading tackler James Laurinaitis was on hand for practice today. You can catch his full interview on Rams Camp Live here.
- Practice ended about 20 minutes early. The team will receive the day off from practice Thursday before returning to camp on Friday.
- During the 11-on-11 portion, cornerbacks Trumaine Johnson and Lamarcus Joyner teamed up on a would-be interception off of Woods hands.
- Cornerback Kevin Peterson had a near pick-six against the third team offense during team drills. Though he prevented the completion, the corner did pushups on the sidelines after missing the interception.
- Goff impressed with several successful completions during red zone drills but struggled a bit with timing on a few routes downfield.
- Wideout Pharoh Cooper had an impressive catch from quarterback Sean Mannion, eluding coverage for a would-be touchdown play.
- Tight End Gerald Everett showcased his strength as a blocker on offense making way for running back Todd Gurley on several plays throughout the day.
- Practice wrapped up with field goal drills putting kicker Greg "The Leg" Zuerlein on display. Much to no one's surprise, Zuerlein made all but one of his attempts.
PLAY OF THE DAY
Today's play of the day once again came from the defense - this time starring Johnson.
During the 11-on-11 portion of practice the veteran corner had an impressive pass break-up on a second down play from Goff to Kupp. Though the receiver had the ball in his hands after a perfect pass from Goff, Johnson stripped the ball right out, eliciting a round of applause from a few excited fans.
After practice Brockers spoke to the media about the impact of losing Easley for the season. Catch up on his best points from Day 5.
On how tough it was for him to see Easley go down: "It's tough. You know I mean we work so hard, we push each other every day and you start missing a guy like that who drives you and drives that competitiveness in you and brings it out of you and you hate to lose that. That's what we'll miss about him. You kind of miss those guys' character and the atmosphere that they bring, but the biggest thing for me is just pick up the guys behind them, influence them and encourage them to do the right things. "