But the energy was loud and clear at the soccer field — with fans chanting “Who’s house? Rams House!” plus another who yelled out “Happy Rams Day!” in the final Rams practice that was open to the public on Tuesday, August 9.
And Heavy on Rams was among the attendees who witnessed the exuberance from the seats to the field.
Now comes this: Our newest bold predictions judging from what got seen at Irvine, which will include some surprises. Here are the newest five bold picks for the Rams.
5) The Rams Will Start a Rookie ‘In the Mold’ of Darious Williams
One of the more scrutinized spots during camp was the cornerback spot. Not because Jalen Ramsey was nursing a surgically repaired shoulder, but because the CB2 spot was left vacant by Darious Williams this offseason.
But judging from how Decobie Durant impressed in Irvine, he’s the pick to start opposite of Ramsey.
Mentioned previously in this Heavy on Rams camp observation piece, Durant got the better end of Cooper Kupp on a sideline interception where the Super Bowl 56 Most Valuable Player was targeted. And it came on a two-interception day for Durant on July 29. Durant added another on August 4 on another sideline takeaway, but this time facing Tutu Atwell.
Williams was known for his ball skills including leading the Rams in picks in 2020. Pro Football Focus on Thursday, August 11 ranked Durant as the No. 5 Day 3 rookie to watch this season — with PFF’s Mike Renner saying “Durant is very much in the mold of former Ram Darious Williams at only 5-foot-10 and 180 pounds.” And add in Williams’ departure, “there are snaps up for grabs at cornerback that Durant could take.”
4) High Draft Pick Will Recapture College Form
This season is personal for Tutu Atwell.
I witnessed the speed the Rams selected him for on the deep ball he caught during Tuesday’s practice. I haven’t seen him go at a slow tempo even in individual drills. It’s obvious what this is: He’s fueled by not being out there with the Rams for a full season.
His head coach Sean McVay has said Atwell “has matured the right way” and has taken “positive steps.”
With this renewed work ethic, Atwell has the chance to be the guy who snatches the deep ball. And has the opportunity to recapture his Louisville days when he made his diminutive stature an afterthought.
3) There’s No Need for a Marquee Edge Rusher
Last season, the Rams rolled the dice and lured in Von Miller to bolster an already stout pass rush.
But let’s re-circle back to why that move was made: Injuries outside of Leonard Floyd.
Justin Hollins (pectoral) and Terrell Lewis (knee) dealt with their ailments. Both, however, looked healthier and speedy in camp practices — plus showed their pocket attacking ability on Ram quarterbacks. If both stay healthy, there will be no need to make a dash at an available edge rusher.
2) Allen Robinson Will Have a Career Season, Opposite of Kupp
Don’t be surprised if the Rams go from having a triple crown leader in Kupp to producing two 100-catch wideouts with him and Allen Robinson together.
Robinson has been catching no-lookers from Matthew Stafford, making dives for grabs, catching between traffic in the end zone and finally, this one-hander on Tuesday that gave Ram fans something to ooh and ahh over:
Bear this in mind: “A-Rob” made the Pro Bowl with Blake Bortles as his quarterback with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Then had to settle for Mitchell Trubisky, Andy Dalton and Justin Fields with the Chicago Bears.
His numbers dropped with the Bears rolling with the latter two QBs. But these grabs Robinson made in camp are an indicator he’s going to better his 2020 form with Stafford as his QB.
1) Matthew Stafford Will Hit New Milestones
First milestone: A 5,000-yard passing season in his second year in McVay’s offense — a first for him since 2011.
Second milestone: A career year in touchdown passes, meaning he’ll surpass 41.
Why both? Another season of developing chemistry with Kupp. Then add in Robinson’s arrival, followed by Van Jefferson once he’s healthy, Tyler Higbee available underneath, then a rejuvenated Atwell plus Cam Akers catching out of the backfield, signs point to a record-breaking campaign for Stafford. And if Odell Beckham comes back on board, then those milestones can really happen.