Day one of Rams training camp is in the books and if there is one thing I noticed by being out there, it’s that this offense is certainly capable of living up to some of the insane expectations put forth by fans and the media.
Fans exploded every time first round draft pick Tavon Austin touched the ball. Fans went nuts for third rounder Stedman Bailey. They know there’s as much speed here since the Greatest Show on Turf days. They won’t be that good, obviously, but this city hasn’t seen this much speed since then.
I loved the quickness I saw out of Austin and how he’s able to stop on a dime and change directions. That’s going to be an invaluable tool for him as he makes the adjustment to the NFL. With him in the slot - where he was lining up almost exclusively - and Chris Givens on the outside and Jared Cook moving all around, the Rams defense is already having problems staying with these guys.
Cortland Finnegan was burned by Austin one play. Rookie T.J. McDonald got torched by Bailey on another. If these practices early on in training camp are any indication offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer plans on opening up the playbook and letting loose with these weapons.
Sam Bradford told me he hasn’t seen this much speed in a long time and is just salivating over the possibilities.
Some other quick notes and observations from being out at Rams Park today:
· Daryl Richardson lined up with the first team at running back. Jeff Fisher said after practice that there may not be a typical “bell cow” running back that gets all of the carries and it could end up getting split between multiple people. For now, it’s simply a competition to replace Steven Jackson among Richardson, last year’s second round pick Isaiah Pead, this year’s fifth rounder Zac Stacy along with holdover Terence Ganaway.
· Rookie T.J. McDonald is running with the starters at safety alongside Darian Stewart. McDonald is coming off a down year at USC but the Rams staff really wanted him in the draft. Fisher said they were sweating out his fall to them in the third round, praying no other team would select him. So far, he’s looked solid with the exception of getting burned by Bailey on one particular deep ball.
· Alec Ogletree is currently the starting outside linebacker alongside James Laurinaitis and Jo-Lonn Dunbar. Laurinaitis told me Ogletree is going to be a terrific player and is like a sponge right now just soaking in all the information that he can. He says he’s very quiet and respectful. But he’s sure the first round pick will be a force in the long run with the Rams.