It's finally that time of year.
Rookies and quarterbacks report to Orange County on Wednesday, and the rest of the Rams veterans report on Friday for 2019 training camp. Los Angeles' first practice will be on Saturday at 4 p.m.
The is the one opportunity to watch practice in its entirety for the whole of the 2019 season. So with that in mind, here are nine things to watch for at training camp.
1) HOW IS TODD GURLEY?
Everyone has been asking the question since the end of the 2018 season — how is Todd Gurley's knee? We'll finally start to get definitive answers with the beginning of training camp. Gurley did not participate in the on-field portions of the Rams' offseason program, but head coach Sean McVay has said that Gurley is expected to be a big part of the team's time in Irvine. We'll all see how he looks starting on Saturday.
2) HOW IS COOPER KUPP?
Wide receiver Cooper Kupp tore his ACL in Week 10, but has made strong strides since to be ready for the start of the regular season. Kupp wore a red jersey during the offseason program to signify that he couldn't go full speed, and couldn't participate in 11-on-11 drills. Where is he in his recovery now? We'll start to get the answer to that on Saturday.
3) NEW STARTERS ON THE OFFENSIVE LINE
The Rams have had exceptional continuity and health along the offensive line for the last two seasons. Now, the group will have to integrate two new starters in center Brian Allen and left guard Joe Noteboom. Training camp will be the first opportunity to see both in pads with the first group on a full-time basis. How they fare will have a lot to do with the overall offensive success in 2019.
4) WHAT'S THE CHEMISTRY LIKE IN THE SECONDARY?
The Rams' defense was much better with the veteran presence of cornerback Aqib Talib than it was without him in 2018. So how does adding another strong veteran in safety Eric Weddle help that group? McVay raved about Weddle's knowledge and skill during the offseason program, and now we'll get to see how that translates against the Rams' offense throughout camp.
5) WHO WILL START AT NOSE TACKLE?
Los Angeles drafted Greg Gaines out of Washington in the spring with the idea that the could come in and potentially make an immediate impact at nose tackle. It's difficult to really evaluate defensive linemen without pads, but Gaines certainly looks the part when it comes to his size. But the Rams also have second-year lineman Sebastian Joseph-Day, and defensive coordinator Wade Phillips said the Rutgers product had a strong offseason program. This could be one of the true position battles of camp.
6) WHO WILL START AT INSIDE LINEBACKER?
It's safe to assume that linebacker Cory Littleton will continue as Los Angeles' defensive signal-caller in 2019. But after the departure of linebacker Mark Barron, there now could be a battle at the second ILB spot. Second year linebacker Micah Kiser mainly manned that position during the offseason program, but fifth-year LB Bryce Hager could challenge for that spot as well.
7) MORE USAGE FROM THE TIGHT ENDS?
Third-year TE Gerald Everett had a strong offseason program, as he seemed to make a big play during each OTA practice. He's flashed in spots throughout the first two years of his career, but the production hasn't necessarily been consistent. But if he has a big training camp, that could bode well for potential success in 2019 as a whole.
8) HOW DO THE RAMS STACK UP AGAINST OTHER TEAMS?
Preseason games are one thing, but practices with controlled situations are often more telling when it comes to evaluating a team's strengths and weaknesses in August. To that end, the Rams will have two practices against the Chargers — one in Costa Mesa at the Chargers' place and the other at UC Irvine. Then the Rams will have two practices with the Raiders in Napa before the clubs square off in the first preseason game. Those will be good measuring sticks for L.A. heading into the regular season.
9) AARON DONALD!
For the first time since 2016, defensive tackle Aaron Donald is going to be at training camp. And any time you watch the back-to-back AP Defensive Player of the Year up close, it's a treat. Donald might not be in many of the 11-on-11 drills — because he has a tendency to ruin them for the offense — but it's the one-on-one situations where Donald will really shine. That goes especially for the joint practices. Be on the lookout for No. 99.