Observations from Rams' fifth OTA

EARTH CITY, Mo. -- The St. Louis Rams got back to work Tuesday afternoon with their third practice session open to the media.

As always, it should be noted that much of what happens in these organized team activities should be taken with a grain of salt (especially for the linemen). The players are not in pads and contact must be extremely limited. It's best not to get too excited or too down on anything that happens.

Away we go...

Young QBs get work: Starting quarterback Sam Bradford did not participate in Tuesday's practice, and the Rams also appeared to give veteran Shaun Hill a little bit of a break as well. That meant plenty of reps to go around for Austin Davis and rookie Garrett Gilbert. Both even got some work in with the first team.

The competition for a possible third quarterback job is one that will crystallize in training camp, but in the meantime any reps are good reps for the youngsters, especially Gilbert. There wasn't much noteworthy to come from the practice for either player, though Gilbert had a couple of nice moments, including one where he stood tall in the pocket and delivered a strike to tight end Lance Kendricks about 15 yards downfield.

If nothing else, Gilbert seems to have pretty good command of the huddle for a rookie just starting to get his feet wet. Realistically, he has to be the early favorite to win the third quarterback job if the team chooses to keep that many.

Long doing work: On Monday, I wrote about the team's confidence in the pending return of left tackle Jake Long. To that point, most of what we've seen in the early OTAs wouldn't lead one to believe Long was either ahead or behind schedule. But watching Long do some individual work with team athletic trainer James Lomax was the most encouraging thing I've seen him do since the surgery.

Long did a little running and was impressive moving laterally during some rehab drills. In his first media session since the surgery, he made it clear he shares the Rams' sentiment that he'll be ready to go for the regular season.

"That's the goal," Long said. "That's what we've talked about ever since I had the surgery."

For what it's worth, it was Sean Hooey's turn to take the reps at left tackle with the first team Tuesday. He and Mike Person have been rotating at that spot.

Sitting it out: The usual cast of characters sat out Tuesday's practice with a couple of notable additions. Defensive tackle Michael Brockers and tight end Jared Cook did not practice with Brockers absent. That duo joined safeties Christian Bryant, Maurice Alexander and Matt Daniels, running back Chase Reynolds, Long, Bradford and defensive William Hayes in sitting out the workout.

Upcoming schedule: The Rams will be back at it with another session open to the media on Thursday.