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Rams safety Taylor Rapp seems up for the challenge

Rams safety Taylor Rapp gets set for a play against the Cowboys last season in Dallas.
(Michael Ainsworth / Associated Press)

After sitting out practices for several weeks because of a knee injury, Rams safety Taylor Rapp has been playing himself back into shape this week.

The practices leading up the Sept. 13 opener against the Dallas Cowboys are intense. But Rapp is accustomed to arduous mental and physical challenges.

Rapp chronicled on social media in May his completion of a one-day, 10,000-calorie challenge. Rapp cycled 125 miles on a bike, hiked four miles, ran three miles, did a 1 1/4-mile swim and completed a short workout with jump ropes and other apparatus.

“It involves a lot of mental toughness,” Rapp said Wednesday during a videoconference with reporters before practice. “A lot of the reason I wanted to take part in it, because I wanted to stretch my mental toughness and see if I could push through it.

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“So it was a great thing. So I could see that definitely correlates to the game, and even life, really.”

Rapp, 22, and John Johnson, 24, are the projected starting safeties for a defense now under the direction of coordinator Brandon Staley. Rookies Terrell Burgess and Jordan Fuller and second-year pro Nick Scott are other safeties on the roster.

Rapp started 10 games last season after Johnson suffered a season-ending shoulder injury. Now they will be playing together.

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“I just see us being the best safety tandem in the league,” Johnson said, “and anything short of that is a disappointment.”

The Rams began to learn Staley’s 3-4 hybrid scheme during virtual offseason workouts that began in April. Rapp, in Washington, did the 10,000-calorie challenge in May.

He started at 4:30 a.m. and finished at 9:09 p.m.

The achievement stunned Johnson.

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“God bless him is all I can say,” Johnson said.

Rapp said his knee issue came to light during the second week of the “acclimation” phase of training camp, which began Aug. 3.

Asked if the issue stemmed from the offseason endurance test, both Rapp and McVay said no.

“It definitely didn’t have any effect,” Rapp said. “There’s light impact on the knee, bicycling. I mostly did the whole day kind of biking.”

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Rapp took mental reps while sidelined, and then returned to workouts on Tuesday.

“I was eager to get back and — perfect day, full pads,” he said. “It was awesome to be out there with the rest of the guys.”

Rapp’s return buoyed a defense that needed some good news.

On Tuesday, McVay announced that linebacker Travin Howard would be sidelined for the season because of a knee injury.

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On Wednesday, McVay said rookie outside linebacker Terrell Lewis, a third-round draft pick from Alabama, would be held out again because of a knee issue.

“We’re working through some things to try to figure out what’s going on,” McVay said.

Etc.

McVay said he had no update on negotiations for a contract extension for cornerback Jalen Ramsey. “I know that there’s dialogue going on behind the scenes,” he said. … In Tuesday night’s episode of “Hard Knocks” three clocks were shown in McVay’s office, one set to time in Los Angeles, one to Atlanta and one to Nice, France. McVay said he had “no idea” why the time had been set for Nice. “I think it’s because it’s somewhere relevant to where I got engaged,” he said, “but when we got back from the trip when we were in Atlanta and London last year, they had redone my office and those were the three clocks. But that’s a hell of a question that I have no idea.”


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