Thursday marked the first day of St. Louis Rams organized team activities (OTA’s) that were open to the media. With QB Sam Bradford sitting out the day’s session, eyes fell on the receiving corps, among others. Newly acquired WR Kenny Britt wasted no time making his presence felt. According to ESPN Rams beat writer Nick Wagoner, Britt beat both CB’s Janoris Jenkins and Trumaine Johnson for long touchdowns on corner routes during 1-on-1 drills – and he reportedly got in their faces afterwards. Stltoday.com Rams reporter Jim Thomas described both plays as “highlight-reel catches.” Later on in practice, Britt and Johnson got involved in a minor scuffle, according to Thomas.
Between the trash-talking and the fight, head coach Jeff Fisher pulled the team together mid-practice and told them to knock it off. When asked about the incident afterward, Fisher said, “I would not have stopped it if we were in training camp.”
Each year fights of varied severity break out during practices, training camp and even OTA’s. Fisher’s response illustrates his low level of concern about the incident moving forward. Three things can be taken away from Britt’s showing today in 1-on-1 drills. The first is that Britt has not lost his physical gifts and his ability to make circus catches. At 6-foot-3-inches and 223 lbs., Britt cuts an imposing figure and the skills he showcased today are exactly what Fisher knew he was getting when the front office signed Britt to a one-year, $1.4 million deal this offseason.
“He looks the part and he can make the plays,” Fisher said after practice. “I was really happy to see him come on. He kept himself in really good shape during the free agency period. He’s had no setbacks, feels great physically. He could potentially return to where he was a very productive receiver.”
The second takeaway is that Britt has also not lost his disruptive tendencies. Last September, Britt was benched against the Houston Texans for his lack of effort and concentration. He also has a history of getting into trouble off the field, including a DUI charge and one-game suspension by the NFL. Some chippiness is to be expected, especially among skills players. If one head coach has the ability to reign in a troubled but talented player like Britt, however, it’s Fisher.
The third takeaway is the Rams remain a physical team whose players are competing with each other and pushing their teammates to improve. Granted, Johnson and Jenkins are among the most grabby and physical corners in the NFL, but it’s a welcomed sight to see Britt shedding that lethargic moniker and putting 100 percent of himself towards football.
After practice Britt said he isn’t worried about impressing anyone nor his troubled past, rather he is focused on improving and using his physical gifts to help the Rams.
“I don’t think I have to prove anything,” he said. “Right now my mindset is just to come out here and get better. I think I bring physicality. I’m a big physical receiver, I like to compete.”
If Britt can keep his nose clean and remain healthy, he has a chance to be a great weapon for Bradford and offensive coordinator Brian Shottenheimer.