Jul 25, 2014; Earth City, MO, USA; St. Louis Rams center Tim Barnes (61) and Rams quarterback Sam Bradford (8) during training camp at Rams Park. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

St. Louis Rams 2014 Training Camp Recap: A Heated Monday Practice

St. Louis Rams Training Camps have traditionally been very “warm,” with temperatures fluctuating from the mid-80s to high-90s on any given day and time. However, Rams Camp was more than just physically heated on Monday, with a number of players letting their voices and emotions be heard throughout the practice. With the Rams Fan Fest in the rearview and the preseason opener against the New Orleans Saints clearly in sight, a bit of a pick-up in intensity isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Here are our five takeaway from camp:

 

1) As previously mentioned, tempers were red-hot on Monday, especially between the wide receivers and defensive backs… or, should we say, defensive backs (i.e. Lamarucs Joyner). After sitting out for a number of practices over the weekend, including the scrimmage on Saturday, the St. Louis Rams second-rounder did not back down from anyone yesterday.

Despite the 7” height difference, the ferociously competitive Joyner not only stood up with the ultra-talkative Kenny Britt, but later got into a scuffle with Austin Pettis that nearly required half the roster to eventually break up.

If anyone was wondering which defensive back would fill the feisty void left by the departure of Cortland Finnegan, we might have our answer…

 

2) On the injury front, Lamarcus Joyner might have been the only “returner,” with a number of marquee offensive and defensive starters still wearing street clothes on the sideline. Included on that list were James Laurinaitis, Michael Brockers, Kendall Langford, Janoris Jenkins, Barrett Jones, Brian Quick, and Rodger Saffold. By all accounts, none of those players have sustained any injury that would cost them a start for Week 1 against the Minnesota Vikings. However, it will certainly be something to keep an eye on as the preseason continues.

 

3) With “adversity” comes opportunity, and with so many defensive cogs on the sideline, plenty of younger players are getting some shine with 1st-team reps. Fan-favorite, Ray Ray “Boom King” Armstrong saw some snaps at middle linebacker, in place of the injured James Laurinaitis. Mo Alexander also got some work in the deep secondary, impressing defensive coordinator, Gregg Williams enough to yell, “Look who finally showed up,” according to reports from NFL Nation writer, Nick Wagoner.

 

4) One of the surprise names that continues to pop up at Rams Camp is rookie tight end, Alex Bayer. The undrafted free agent out of Bowling Green made a number of solid catches on Monday, including a wonderful sideline catch that drew cheers from the crowd. With Mike McNeill off the roster, the St. Louis Rams likely have one “opening” on their hybrid tight end/fullback depth chart,  behind Jared Cook, Lance Kendricks, and Cory Harkey. If Bayer continues to impress as a receiver, on top of showing off his blocking abilities, he could certainly earn that spot on the 53-man roster.

 

5) Greg Robinson continues to impress on the offensive line, including some noticeable progress on the inside. The veteran leadership of Jake Long and Scott Wells, paired with facing the grinding, skill-shaping Rams’ defensive line on a daily basis will surely have the  St. Louis Rams No.2 overall pick ready to light people up during the regular season. St. Louis Rams report, Casey Phillips, spoke with Robinson after practice on Monday, asking about the more heated practice and how ready he was to lock pads with someone other than his teammates,

“I think those guys are just trying to transition themselves into game-like situations. That’s why we turned it up a little bit, put on the pads, going full speed a little bit and making contact, getting the feel of it. I think that’s just to prepare ourselves for Friday.”

We’re all excited for Friday, Greg. We are all excited…

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