Here's what's making news with the Rams heading into Friday's practice.
Shaping up: Rookie offensive lineman Rokevious “Rok” Watkins , who reported overweight, improved his conditioning enough to join team drills for the first time Thursday. “He’s been working very, very hard inside,” coach Jeff Fisher told the Post-Dispatch. “He’s still not all the way there yet, but he’s getting close.” Listed at 6-foot-3 and 338 pounds, the fifth-rounder out of South Carolina lined up at right guard in the first full-squad pads practice. But with that spot usually manned by Harvey Dahl, Watkins is expected to vie for the left guard job.
Comfort zone: Taking over for the injured Danny Amendola last season, wideout Greg Salas made 27 catches for 264 yards out of the slot before a broken fibula ended his year. Now, with Amendola healthy and experienced slot receiver Steve Smith added to the roster, Salas is playing outside. He said it’s not that big of an adjustment because he played outside at Hawaii. “I’m comfortable playing inside or outside, wherever the coaching staff puts me or thinks I’ll be best at I’ll go with it and run with it so wherever they use me is exactly where I’m going to go,” Salas said.
Technique is crucial on the outside, he added.
“You have to beat press coverage on the outside,” Salas said. “You are up against corners most of the time out there. It’s just different maneuvering through crowds differently and you really have to win on the outside. It’s definitely technique, getting in and out of breaks. You have a lot more room to wiggle and use your savvy on the inside. On the outside you have got to be more technically sound and learn how to beat defenders and get that separation for the quarterback to squeeze it in.”
Tempers flare: Dahl took exception to OLB Jo-Lonn Dunbar drilling RB Steven Jackson on a tackle Thursday. Dahl got in Dunbar’s face, but it didn’t get out of hand. "They’re competing, and they understand," Fisher said. "The issue is allowing those things to carry over to the game. You cannot let those kinds of things carry over to the game. But out here, you can understand and appreciate them protecting their teammates."
Imposing duo: In one-on-one pass rush and team drills, Chris Long and Robert Quinn have been dominating the offensive tackles. The ends combined for 18 sacks last season and could really break out this year, if Quinn avoids a suspension for his DUI arrest. The Rams rarely played with the lead last season.
Fan Fest: The Rams will hold their first-ever Fan Fest on Saturday at the Edward Jones Dome. GM Les Snead will speak to the crowd at noon, followed by a 12:30 p.m. local time scrimmage. Players will sign autographs after the two-hour session.
Get more Rams updates and analysis from Larry Hartstein @CBSSportsNFLSTL.