IRVINE, Calif. – Rookie wide receiver Tutu Atwell's training camp debut and the energy brought by full pads highlighted the seventh practice of 2021 Rams Training Camp presented by UNIFY Financial Credit Union.
Staff writer Stu Jackson shares 10 Observations from the session:
1) Atwell makes training camp debut: The former Louisville standout was activated from the Reserve/COVID-19 list on Wednesday after being place on it on July 26, and received a limited workload."It's going to be a smart progression that we put in place," Rams head coach Sean McVay said after Wednesday's practice. "He hit his yardage mark, and then we kind of just had him watch for the rest of the day."
2) New helmet attire: After quarterback Matthew Stafford hit his thumb on a defender's helmet in Monday's practice, McVay mentioned seeing other teams around the league who have soft shells on their players' helmets to soften the blow when something like that happens. Two days later, members of the Rams' offensive line and defensive front seven were sporting royal blue-colored soft shells on their helmets.
3) Kevin Carberry back: The Rams' new offensive line coach, who is fully vaccinated, had been absent after testing for COVID-19, McVay said on July 28 after team's first training camp practice. Wednesday was Carberry's first chance to work with his group on the field during camp.
4) Pads popping: The defense must have been looking forward to Wednesday and Tuesday, because some of the tackles made Wednesday could be easily heard. Defensive back J.R. Reed had a hard hit at the end of a run by running back Xavier Jones during team drills. Jones stayed on his feet – what appears to be an emphasis for both offensive and defensive players even with pads on – but anyone near the play certainly heard pads collide. Cornerback Jalen Ramsey also had a hit against running back Darrell Henderson Jr. in which Henderson also stayed on his feet, but the tackle was certainly heard.
5) No getting by Bash: Showing one of his strengths, defensive lineman Sebastian Joseph-Day at one point during team drills penetrated the backfield for a run stop against running back Jake Funk.
6) Stafford to Kupp: In what has become a recurring theme, Stafford once again connected with wide receiver Cooper Kupp for a big play through the air. This time, he evaded pressure, then climbed in the pocket and launched a deep ball to Kupp, who hauled in what would've been good for about a 30-yard catch.
7) Darrell Henderson Jr.'s shiftiness again on display: The third-year running back had multiple moments where he displayed the same agility and explosiveness he showed early on last year, including taking a screen pass from Stafford, making a couple cuts then bursting upfield for a big play.
8) Contested catch: Tight end Jacob Harris had an impressive touchdown catch during redzone work, turning his body to haul in a John Wolford pass near the corner of the endzone
9) Strong competition in 1-on-1s: Of note from one-on-one drills, Ramsey had an impressive pass breakup against Kupp, while fellow cornerback Darious Williams broke up a pass matched up with wide receiver Robert Woods.
10) Veteran days off for defensive lineman Aaron Donald, tight end Tyler Higbee, outside linebacker Leonard Floyd and wide receiver DeSean Jackson. Similar to the approach the Rams took to the first padded practice on Tuesday in which offensive lineman Andrew Whitworth got a rest day, Donald, Higbee Floyd and Jackson all received the same on Wednesday. "They were (out there) first day in pads, and you just want to be smart with their progression," McVay said. "We'll have an off day tomorrow, then we'll come back (Friday) and it will be kind of a lighter practice, and then Saturday at the Cowboys."