With the excitement over May’s NFL draft having subsided, Thursday’s practice in Earth City came at just the right time. In the Rams’ second official OTA session, players hit the field for some “Groundhog Day”-style action in which implementation, positional groupings on the field, drill work (one-on-ones) looked almost identical to the setup one year ago.
Team periods, 11-on-11 sets and special teams featured prominently, too, with head coach Jeff Fisher and his staff teaching at every turn. Veterans and rookies alike ran from drill to drill in a very organized manner. They hustled after each play.
Through workout programs and conditioning periods, such an attitude has followed the team all offseason. And while Thursday’s outing mirrored the structure from 2013 in many ways, there was a noticeable difference in terms of competitive nature and aggressiveness. Case in point: Wide receiver Kenny Britt and cornerback Trumaine Johnson were involved in a dust-up that Fisher “would not have stopped … if we were in training camp.”
Quarterback Sam Bradford did not practice yesterday after being an active participant on Tuesday. Per Fisher, the rehabbing signal-caller will only participate in half of the team’s OTAs.
“He’ll probably get five of them in,” Fisher confirmed. “Tomorrow he’s going to throw two 7-on-7 periods. He threw a 7-on-7 period with the 1s on Tuesday.”
If he can stay healthy and out of trouble off the field, Britt may give Bradford and the offense the missing piece for which they have been looking. The 6-foot-3, 223-pound receiver could not be covered by either Johnson or Janoris Jenkins, igniting a little old-fashioned trash talk from Britt.
“He’s a very emotional kid,” Fisher said. “He’s an emotional receiver. He looks the part and he can make the plays. I was really happy to see him come on. He kept himself in really good shape during the free agency period. He came in, has done a great job inside. He’s had no setbacks, feels great physically. He could potentially return to where he was a very productive receiver.”
A valuable piece was missing at left offensive tackle in Jake Long, who is currently rehabbing his right ACL. The former Pro Bowler may not be out of the mix for long, though.
“Jake is coming along,” Fisher said. “He’s doing the individual stuff. Jake’s injury was a little bit later than Sam’s. We expect him back somewhere middle part of training camp.”
Fisher also said that Long is on pace to return in time for the regular-season opener vs. the Minnesota Vikings.