St. Louis Rams training camp, weekend updates

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One week into Rams training camp and a few pieces are beginning to fall into place. Ramblin’ Fan recently traveled from New York out to Earth City, Mo to take a look at things first hand. After returning to headquarters this weekend, we’ve been able to digest some of that information.

The wide receiver position seems to be coming into focus early on in camp. Tavon Austin is looking like the number one option St. Louis envisioned when they drafted him eighth overall in 2013. Austin was involved in all the fist team reps and it would appear new offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti Jr is being true to his word to get Austin more involved in the offense. Austin was also the sole punt returner on special teams.

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Across from Austin, and usually pegged as the hot receiver, was Brian Quick. Quick seems to be coming along just fine from his season ending shoulder injury that cut his 2014 short. Quick was up and down during the first week of camp. He seems to make just as many good plays, as those that left you scratching your head. If the Rams hope to be successful on offense in 2015, they will need Quick to find a little more consistency.

Aug 1, 2015; Earth City, MO, USA; St. Louis Rams wide receiver Tavon Austin (1) at Rams Park. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

In the slot fans will find Stedman Bailey more often than not. Bailey was involved with both the first and second teams, but had an impact with both. The tight end positions have been occupied almost exclusively by Jared Cook and Lance Kendricks. Cook and quarterback Nick Foles have created quite a bit of chemistry in the early parts of camp and Cook has benefitted from that. Kendricks has also seen his share of down field throws. Unfortunately, backups Cory Harkey, Brad Smelley and Alex Bayer have not performed as well.

The first team running back reps belonged solely to Tre Mason. Fans shouldn’t panic here. This was to be expected as first-round draft pick Todd Gurley is still recovering from a torn ACL suffered almost 9 months ago. Gurley is in the verge of returning and participated in individual drills for the entire first week of camp. Head coach Jeff Fisher recently stated that he doesn’t believe Gurley will participate in any preseason games, but the time table for his return remains unchanged. We should expect Gurley somewhere between Weeks 1 and 6 of the regular season.

The center position is still the most blurry of all the position battles in this year’s camp. During the first week of camp all three candidates, Barrett Jones, Demetrius Rhaney and Tim Barnes all took snaps with the first team. It seems Fisher is committed to his plan and allowing these three take this competition deep into the preseason. Rookies Rob Havenstein and Jamon Brown have filled in nicely occupying the right side of the line. To date, Brown has performed better and received some very nice reviews.

The defensive unit looked strong. When camp opened some notable non-participants included defensive end Chris Long and safety Mark Barron. However, both would return to action prior to the end of the week.

Unfortunately, the same could not be said for cornerback E.J. Gaines. Gaines was injured at the beginning of the week after another player stepped on his ankle. Gaines injury may be more severe than originally thought. He was a non-participant for the remainder of the week. More information should become available leading up the teams first preseason game on August 14th.

The quarterback position is now all but solidified after newly acquired Foles recently signed a two-year extension to stay with the Rams for the immediate future. During the time Ramblin’ Fan was on site Case Keenum was the second team quarterback. Keenum looked solid, but surrendered reps in the red zone to Austin Davis. Davis entered this offseason as the favorite to win the back up position, but it would appear Keenum has the upper hand at the moment. Rookie Sean Mannion showed off a strong arm and completed some nice throws during warm ups, but that was the extent of his time throwing.

The first week of camp was certainly productive. The team will look to have another strong week as they head into their first preseason match against the Oakland Raiders at the end of the week. After the game with Oakland, the Rams will being their joint practices with the Dallas Cowboys in Oxnard, Ca.