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Rams

Taylor Rapp building a reputation as a ‘flat-out baller’ in Rams camp

Rams safety Taylor Rapp takes part in a training camp practice session at UC Irvine on July 29.
Rams safety Taylor Rapp takes part in a training camp practice session at UC Irvine on July 29.
(Associated Press)

The transition from college football to the NFL is going smoothly for Taylor Rapp.

The Rams’ rookie safety meshed well and impressed during offseason workouts, and he continued to gain confidence during the first week of training camp, which included two practices with the Chargers.

This week, the Rams will practice twice with the Oakland Raiders in Napa.

On Sunday, after the Rams completed a short walkthrough in their final workout at UC Irvine, Rapp said lessons learned against the Chargers would enable him to grow against the Raiders.

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“It was kind of eye-opening, getting me ready for the tempo and stuff like that,” Rapp said. “It’s definitely going to help out a lot heading into these next two practices with the Raiders.”

The 6-foot, 208-pound Rapp was selected in the second round of the draft after an outstanding career at the University of Washington.

He is part of a Rams safety corps that includes 12-year veteran Eric Weddle, ascending third-year pro John Johnson and versatile Marqui Christian.

Rapp also is versatile, coach Sean McVay said.

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“He took some steps in the right direction,” against the Chargers, McVay said. “He showed up on the field.

Terrell Owens, one of the greatest receivers in NFL history, still hasn’t gotten over being snubbed the first two years of his Hall of Fame eligibility.

“He’s so conscientious -- he’s going to keep getting better every day.”

Rapp, 21, acknowledged that he has dealt with NFL “learning curves and growing pains and stuff like that.” But he said he was becoming more and more comfortable in defensive coordinator Wade Phillips’ system.

“Now, it’s all about going out there and letting it loose and trying to make plays,” he said.

Rapp has benefited from daily exposure to Weddle. The six-time Pro Bowl selection signed with the Rams in March after the Rams let Lamarcus Joyner leave as a free agent.

“I’m just trying to soak up as much information as possible from that guy because he’s got 12 years of ball under his belt,” Rapp said of Weddle.

Rapp already has demonstrated his maturity, Johnson said. With his play, he also has answered questions about his speed.

“He’s going to be a real good player for a long time,” Johnson said. “He can move, he can run.

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“He’s a flat-out baller.”

Rapp is one of several rookies who made an impression during eight training camp practices. Running back Darrell Henderson, offensive lineman David Edwards, defensive tackle Greg Gaines and cornerback David Long are others.

“You expect them to just really learn from the veteran players, make sure that you’re not making the same mistake twice — as we expect from all of our players — and capitalize on the opportunities you do have,” McVay said of the rookies.

Sean McVay and Jared Goff weren’t thrilled with how the Rams performed against the Chargers, but the quarterback finds value in joint practices.

McVay demonstrated again Sunday that he expects maximum effort and focus from all players on every snap, regardless of whether it occurs in a scrimmage, full-speed drill or a walkthrough.

A day after the offense appeared sluggish in the practice with the Chargers, the Rams went through the one-hour walkthrough without pads.

But McVay remained exacting. On one play, the offense broke the huddle en route to lining up. McVay, visibly unsatisfied with the pace, called the players back and instructed them to do it again.

“That’s just all of us working together,” he said. “We want to make sure we’re operating at a high level. The things that you can control in these walkthrough settings are important and we want to make sure we’re emphasizing those things.”

He then joked, “You know, sometimes I can get a little bit short on patience.”

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The Rams are finished with practices at Irvine, but McVay said he relayed a post-practice message to players.

“Even though we’re leaving Irvine we’re not breaking camp,” he said. “We are still in camp mode for the next, really, week and a half or so.”

Etc…

McVay said defensive tackle Aaron Donald was not present for the final practice because of a family matter that Donald had previously discussed with the coach. “Everything is good,” McVay said, adding Donald was “accounted for and something that we knew ahead of time, so everything is great with Aaron.”… The Rams are off Monday. They will have a short workout Tuesday and then depart for Napa.


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