Jul 25, 2014; Earth City, MO, USA; St. Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher during training camp at Rams Park. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

St. Louis Rams 2014 Training Camp Recap: Special Teams Show Out

You know it is a special time of the year when a special teams-only practice can draw so much intrigue from fans. Yesterday, Jeff Fisher and Co. opted to lead off padded practices with a punt, kick, and coverage battle, hosted by special teams coordinator, John Fassel. With a such a large grouping of first- and second-year players on the Rams extremely young roster, it should be no surprise that over half of the “90-man” roster was dressed yesterday. While there may not be any Kenny Britt, Sam Bradford, or Aaron Donald news, there was certainly plenty to discuss. With that being said, here are our five takeaways from Special Teams Day:

1) The St. Louis Rams have a pretty solid list of nicknames on the roster, ranging from “Black Lightning” (Robert Quinn) and “White Thunder” (Chris Long), all the way to “Greg the Leg” (Greg Zuerlein) and “Animal Jr.” (James Laurinaitis). Yesterday, a combination nickname was revealed; the “Miami Heat,” comprised of south Florida natives, Brandon McGee and Stedman Bailey. According to Lamarcus Joyner, in a post-practice interview with Casey Phillips, the deadly special teams duo put him “in the dirt” on a number of occasions. The only thing that trumps good play is a good nickname (?), and that one might stick.

2) Ray-Ray Armstrong and Daren Bates, affectionately known as the “Bash Brothers,” appear to be the leaders of the St. Luis Rams stellar special teams unit. Aside from some early struggles with holding penalties, both showed tremendous abilities to get down the field to cover and, more importantly, “make plays” in 2013. Jeff Fisher has been impressed enough to mention that the two might see some defensive reps as the season progresses. It seems that hard work does pay off in St. Louis…

3) Speaking of Ray-Ray Armstrong, his “championship” belt is a must-see!

4) Not to harp on nicknames, but, according to Greg Zuerlein himself, there is no nickname in particular that Mr. “the Leg” enjoys above the rest. However, the St. Louis Rams humble, monster-legged kicker did have some words of praise for special teams coordinator, John Fassel, and head coach, Jeff Fisher, conveying that,

” …they put a lot of extra time into special teams. I think that kind of shows on the field with our production. Not just with what me, Johnny [Hekker], and Jake [McQuaide] do –I mean, we’re just a little cog in the machine– it’s mainly the guys that are running down and covering kicks.”

5) There is some positive news on the Michael Sam new front. John Fassel praised the 7th-rounder for his blocking work on kickoff and punt return, and asserted that there was a noticeable difference in Sam’s speed and quickness, largely due to the substantial amount of weight he lost between OTAs and minicamp. Production on special teams will be “the key” to Michael Sam making the 53-man roster, even if he is seeing some limited time with the second-unit on defense, with William Hayes still recovering.

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