Training Camp Report: The Rams First Day in Pads

Check out the best photos from the first day of full pads of Rams Training Camp.

The pads came on and the clouds opened up for Day 4 of Rams training camp.

Tuesday afternoon's practice marked the Rams' first day in pads this season and the team's first padded work under head coach Sean McVay. The addition of full pads made for a more spirited environment, though the practice was called off about 15 minutes early due to rain and lightning strikes nearby.

The defense came out strong once again, taking control of much of Tuesday's practice, but the Rams' offense had its moments where it looked effective as well. Here's everything you need to know from Day 4.

TOP TAKEAWAYS

1. A little rain won't stop the Rams

Though Orange County is typically characterized for its sunny weather, today proved it does indeed rain in Southern California. McVay made the decision to cut practice short after a series of nearby lightning strikes and a slight drizzle during the tail end of the day. 

"I want to always first be thinking about the players' safety and with the amount of time that it's going to take for us to be able to clear that and kind of where we were at in practice, we decided to call it," McVay said. "Just being mindful of the situation, we felt like that was the best decision for us to make."

Despite the weather, the Rams still got about an hour and forty-five minutes of solid work in. Post-practice McVay praised the team's heightened intensity going into their first padded practice.

"I thought 'Bones' [special teams coordinator John Fassel] did a great job of getting it started the right way — it gets the competitive juices going," McVay said of the energetic practice. "Once we got into some of our team periods you could feel it, it started right away and that's what we wanted to see as a coaching staff."

"I thought it was a good tempo that we had on both sides," he added. "One of the things you appreciated is that it was a good, physical practice — guys were trying to be smart staying off the ground and I think we were able to accomplish that while getting a good, competitive practice in."

2.  Injury update:

Though there was no live tackling featured in today's practice, the addition of full pads did come with a few on-field injuries. Defensive end and projected starter Dominique Easley was carted off the field with an apparent lower leg injury while wide receiver Tavon Austin also left practice early, dealing with what McVay referred to as a minor "tissue" issue.

While the Rams have plenty of depth at wide receiver with 11 players on the active roster, an injured Easley would put a serious dent in the team's defensive line. McVay did not have any immediate updates for the media as to the severity of the players' injuries, but he did push a "next man up" mentality when addressing concerns of both players being out indefinitely. 

"We've got guys that need to be ready to step up and that's why you've got a 90-man roster right now," he said. "If for whatever reason, this is an extended absence for Dominique who has done a great job in Aaron's [Donald] absence, then somebody else will be ready to step up and that's what our job is as coaches and the guys that are on this roster is to step up and fill those voids."

3.  The offense begins to clic

After four days of training camp and the first in full pads, McVay's new offensive system seems to be taking hold. The whole offense is communicating more cohesively as a whole and has been steadily developing over the last few days. 

In today's practice, quarterback Jared Goff looked comfortable in the pocket even when faced with oncoming pressure. The addition of left tackle Andrew Whitworth to protect Goff's blindside has provided a huge benefit to the young quarterback. After practice the lineman complemented Goff's progression and growing authority during training camp.

"It is fun watching him," Whitworth said. "I feel like he's a guy that this camp you can tell, from OTAs till now, his posture and his presence, and confidence — I think you can see that the lights are starting to turn on. He's been dedicated to becoming a special quarterback in this league and he's just got to keep that mindset going."

And as for the offensive line, which has seen an assortment of changes, Whitworth is hopeful the players' persistence and hard work will carry them to a successful season.

"I look forward to watching them progress and seeing the techniques that Coach Kromer's teaching them," he said in regards to the young line. "You're going to have bad days, bad weeks, just days that are not as good as others, but it's really the guys that are just stubborn enough and diligent enough where day in and day out they apply themselves and find a way to get better. That's really the focus it takes at this level to be successful and that's why there's so few teams that can do it. "

FIELD-LEVEL OBSERVATIONS

  • Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips was back at practice this afternoon after dealing with a personal matter back at home.
  • During the special teams portion of practice, wide receivers Shakeir Ryan, Nelson Spruce, Brandon Shippen, Cooper Kupp and Austin took reps as returners.
  • Speaking of the wideouts, Spruce had an impressive play during the 11-on-11 drills diving up the middle to catch a pass from Goff. He has become a fan favorite over the last few days, prompting a daily "Spruuuce" chant from the crowds.
  • Quarterback Sean Mannion also had a productive practice throwing a bullet to Spruce during the 11-on-11 period after facing pressure in the pocket.
  • Tuesday's practice featured a lot of red zone drills working on coverage near the end zone.
  • Tight ends Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett saw a lot of action today as McVay's offense experimented with a variety of passing plays.
  • Cornerback E.J. Gaines cut up the middle to stop a running play about halfway through the afternoon, showcasing his athleticism after recording an interception in yesterday's practice.

PLAY OF THE DAY

The play of the day took us all the way back to the University of Southern California, featuring two former Trojans, wideout Robert Woods and cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman.

During the 11-on-11 portion of practice today, Robey-Coleman robbed his former college teammate of a square-out connection from Goff. After cleanly covering the receiver and prompting the incomplete pass, Robey-Coleman was met by a very vocal sideline and a series of high-fives from his fellow players and coaches.

PRESS POINTS

 

After practice Sean McVay took the time to address the media and discuss Goff's budding chemistry with his offensive line. Catch up on his most interesting point after Day 4:

SEAN McVAY: On if he told Goff that he has to take the offensive line out for a steak dinner: "Hopefully I don't have to tell him to do that. I think he will probably do that at some point. Those guys do a lot of great things for him and hopefully that's going to be the same thing to be the same thing to come for a few years."

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