Like riding a bike: Rams veterans roll up to training camp
IRVINE, Calif. (AP) Case Keenum was pretty sure he hadn't been on a bicycle since he was about 12 years old.
The quarterback struggled to get his bike over the low curb as he rolled up to the Los Angeles Rams' training camp at UC Irvine on Thursday.
Even when they've got both feet on the ground, this whole year is a remarkable new challenge for the Rams. But relocation hasn't dampened their enthusiasm for the possibilities of a new season.
''I think it'll be exciting,'' Keenum said after riding his new mode of transportation up to the players' dorm complex. ''First time back in LA. First time back in the Coliseum, and it goes on and on from there. I'm just excited to get on the field.''
The Rams' veterans officially began arriving in Orange County on Thursday, and their first public practice is scheduled for Saturday.
With HBO cameras filming their every move for the ''Hard Knocks'' documentary series, they've begun roughly five weeks of camp in Irvine while their training complex is finished in Thousand Oaks.
''A lot of firsts here, yeah,'' Keenum said. ''The first time cameras have followed me into my dorm when I'm checking in at training camp. The first time there's a camera in our meeting room, a lot of that stuff. ... But it's still football. This comes with it, and we're going to enjoy it.''
The Rams have plenty of work to do when they begin workouts. While the newness of their surroundings will probably take months to wear off, the players and coaches are eager to show progress this fall after the franchise's fourth straight losing season under coach Jeff Fisher.
At least their moving arrangements are largely finished, with nearly everybody settled into homes near their permanent base. Training camp will be long, but the veteran Rams only see opportunities for bonding.
''It's been a hassle, but it's a great feeling just to have something new to look forward to,'' left tackle Greg Robinson said.
''I'm pretty sure that nobody else is going through what we're going through, but we'll just stick together as a team, and hopefully we have one of the best camps we've ever had. The way we transition is going to make the team stronger.''
Keenum has already got to work with No. 1 draft pick Jared Goff and the other key components of the Rams' passing game. They spent time working together between offseason workouts and training camp, trying to build chemistry before the preseason.
''We thought we'd try to work a little bit and not just sit around on the couch and eat Cheez-Its all summer,'' Keenum said.
''No, we had a really good summer. I think we made a jump. Guys stuck around, worked hard. I think I saw just about every receiver and tight end we had out at throwing sessions. I think we made a step forward, and I'm looking to hit the ground running coming up.''
The Rams will begin several position battles this weekend, particularly on defense. The departures of secondary mainstays Janoris Jenkins and Rodney McLeod have opened up two starting jobs.
Cody Davis is eager to compete for McLeod's role at free safety, and moves into camp with a clear head after the upheaval of the past six months.
''It's definitely a little bit of a distraction,'' Davis said of relocation. ''You've got just to focus that much harder. We've got a lot of things that we need to do, but it hasn't really affected my training at all.''
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