ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- Day 2 of Rams training camp is in the books under new head coach Jeff Fisher. It was overcast today with a slight drizzle but still overcast enough to make it less than comfortable outside. Here are observations from today’s workout.
Keep in mind here that the team is yet to put pads on so it’s hard to really get a guage for who is impressing and who is not. You’re not going to win or lose a starting job on July 30th but you can certainly create good/bad first impressions.
With that in mind, I haven’t liked what I’ve seen so far from Steve Smith. He’s the most veteran receiver this club has and has a 100 catch season in his history. But he’s dropped a lot of passes from what I’ve seen. Now, it’s impossible to watch every single rep that he’s taken so it’s feasible that I’ve just had some horrendous luck and only seen his worst plays.
But during one-on-one drills going against corners with QB’s throwing to them, he’s had a few drops. On one in particular Smith had those alligator arms where he was a little afraid to go across the middle. The Rams really need Smith if they plan on having a quality receiving corps this season. I’m a believe in rookie Brian Quick for the future and, maybe, Chris Givens. But it’s a little early to suggest they can be impact performers. Wide receivers typically take a year or two to get adjusted. Steve Smith is the club’s best bet to be a difference maker this season. He’s that important.
With rookie offensive lineman Rokevious Watkins having trouble pulling himself away from the dinner table this offseason (Jeff Fisher’s words) he didn’t make the best first impression. That’s a shame, too, because left guard is as wide open as any spot at the moment.
Yes, he is just a 5th round pick...but it wouldn’t be a shock at all if he turned it on and stole a starting job. But showing up to camp a couple days ago a tad overweight and not able to pass the conditioning test didn’t bode well for his beginning. I’ve said it before and I’ll continue to say it for the next month until the regular season begins.
The offensive line is the most important part of the season to the Rams in 2012. Sam Bradford has to stay on his feet. He’s just got to. I don’t care how good the defense is, I don’t care how good the receivers are, I don’t care what Steven Jackson does...if the offensive line can’t protect Bradford this team won’t succeed. The Oklahoma alum is a huge asset that needs protection. And he’s got a left tackle (Rodger Saffold) returning from injury and not the best season himself.
He’s got a right tackle (Jason Smith) who’s battled injury his entire career and hasn’t played well at any point. And he has no idea who his left guard will be. The offensive line is the biggest x-factor of the season to me.
Listening to coaches and former coaches that are watching practice...the name that keeps getting mentioned for all the right reasons is rookie cornerback Trumaine Johnson.
He’s the guy that missed his flight from California and, therefore, the first day of practice for rookies. But when you look at Johnson, he’s a beast. Someone his size (6’2”, 204 lbs) shouldn’t be able to move the way he does. If you’ve got small corners, they’re a mismatch against bigger receivers who can simply use their size to shield them off.
If you’ve got big but unathletic corners who can’t move...receivers will just run right by them. But if you’ve got size AND athleticism like Johnson, it’s tough to beat. Now he’s just got to go out there and show he has the technique. But the natural physical qualities are clearly there.