To quote the great Allen Iverson, yes, we talkin’ about practice.
The Los Angeles Rams training camp at UC-Irvine will have 11 practices open to the public starting on Friday.
Tickets are free and available for adults and kids on the Rams website. The Rams will have a stage set up for interviews and performances to liven things up.
Don’t be one of those autograph lunatics, but this is a great chance to say hello to Aaron Donald or Cooper Kupp and show your appreciation.
Remember, practice is work for them. Wouldn’t it be nice to leave your office and have people asking you for an autograph?
Attending an NFL team’s practice is a must-do for any real Rams fan. We’ve got some tips for you on what to look for.
Who’s Loud and Who’s Leading
There will be around 90 of the greatest athletes you’ve ever seen on Crawford Field at UC Irvine. Pay attention to who comes out of the locker room jazzed up, meaning who is talking loud and bouncing around. A team should have around 3-5 of those guys. Those are the team’s emotional leaders.
But if you want to know who the team’s true leaders are, just look during the stretching period. NFL players will stretch a lot (we all should stretch a lot), because lately, the trend in all athletic training isn’t so much how strong you are, but how much you can bend, because football is a physical game. You’re going to get hit, it’s important to be able to recover.
Who leads the stretches for the Rams? Those are the leaders.
A football practice can look confusing from the outside. All these players running around in different groups, but what’s happening is that each position group works on different individual skills for a certain period with their coach.
Offensive linemen may work on their timing or their step-outs (placement of their feet to meet an oncoming rusher on a pass, or pull on a running play). Defensive linemen work on beating double teams. Wide receivers run routes.
While these drills look strange to an outsider, this is where the football sausage is made.
A traditional football practice breaks everyone into groups working on individual skills and then brings the team back together for team drills.
Where’s the Hitting?
No no, this isn’t 1984 anymore. Smart football teams don’t go full-on contact very often. There is too much risk of injury.
Practices are referred to as “thuds” where yes, a defensive player can put a shoulder into a running back and defensive backs can give wide receivers a shove, but the goal is to never bring your teammate to the ground.
It’s amazing that NFL players can really go at 75 percent speed, but they can.
Practice is Proof
If you’re at practice and you note, gee, Rams wide receiver Tutu Atwell can’t catch a pass, or Bobby Wagner was everywhere all at the same time, guess what, you’re right.
What players show in practice is usually what they show in games. If a player is underperforming in practice, that’s not a good sign. If a player is hyped and all over the place in team drills, then they’re locked in and ready to go.
Coaches see this too.
Of course, players can have good and bad practices, but what separates an NFL player in training camp is consistency. Also, look to see if any of the assistant coaches ever pull a player aside for individual instruction. That is often a bad sign, because it shows he is not understanding a concept.
Have Some Fun
The truth is the outdoor part of practice, the running and hitting is just one part of the Rams’ day. Practice will continue with position meetings and what is called “install” where new offensive plays or defensive concepts are drawn up by the coaches, then disseminated to the players to study overnight. That’s right, the Rams get homework.
The best part of an NFL practice is the team drills when the offense goes against the defense. It’ll get fun when the offense scores or when the defense makes a good play. You want your team to be competitive with one another, but you don’t want anyone to get hurt.
Rams Camp Schedule
- Friday, July 29, gates open at 11 a.m. Practice 12:30-3 p.m.
- Saturday, July 30 gates open at 11 a.m. Practice 12:30-3 p.m.
- Sunday, July 31 gates open at 11 a.m. Practice 12:30 to 2 p.m.
- Monday, August 1 gates open at 11:30 a.m. Practice 12:30 to 3 p.m.
- Wednesday, August 3 gates open at 11:30 a.m. Practice 12:30 to 3 p.m.
- Thursday, August 4 gates open at 11:30 a.m. Practice 12:30 to 3 p.m.
- Friday, August 5 gates open at 11 a.m. Practice is 12:30 to 2 p.m.
- Saturday, August 6 gates open at 11 a.m. Practice 12:30 to 3 p.m.
- Monday, August 8 gates open at 11:30 a.m. Practice 12:30 to 3 p.m.
- Tuesday, August 9, gates open at 11:30 a.m. Practice 12:30 to 3 p.m.
- Wednesday, August 10, gates open at 11:30 a.m. Practice 12:30 to 2 p.m.