IRVINE, Calif. -- Los Angeles Rams running back Benny Cunningham was trotting harmlessly down the field after finishing his route in a practice drill when suddenly middle linebacker Alec Ogletree threw his right shoulder and leveled him to the grass. That sparked the fight that broke out at Rams practice last Wednesday, which finished with superstar Todd Gurley on the ground and was captured by HBO's "Hard Knocks" cameras in Tuesday's episode.
Shortly after the incident involving Ogletree and Cunningham, Gurley caught a pass from Case Keenum and went right after Ogletree, then sprung up and wrestled him down. Several players went at it again. And at one point, running back Chase Reynolds was swinging his fists at linebacker Brandon Chubb despite being without a helmet. When Rams coach Jeff Fisher gathered his players in a circle, he told them the following:
"Let's start out by saying this -- this is a practice script, OK? We can't get enough f---ing reps as it is because of the way this whole thing is set up. Every f---ing rep means something. Every single call, every single rep. You young guys aren't getting reps. Some of you guys aren't even getting into a game. Practice is f---ing important, and when you get into that s--- there, you're not thinking about a rep, you're not thinking about practice -- you're thinking about bulls---! And I'm not standing for that. Take a deep breath, get your s--- together, and we're going to finish this practice. Now let me see your poise, let me see your respect for each other. We're going to finish this day."
Below are some additional takeaways from the fourth of five episodes of "Hard Knocks," the HBO series that follows the Rams through training camp ...
The Rock says: The star of Episode 4 was Rock Gullickson, the longtime strength and conditioning coach who is in his eighth season with the Rams and has now been in the NFL for 17 years. Gullickson is the coach who spends the most time with players, guiding them through their workouts and even snapping the ball for the quarterbacks. The episode included footage of Brett Favre's Hall of Fame speech, during which he thanked Gullickson, who coached for three years in Green Bay.
When the Rams make cuts, Gullickson is the one who informs the victims they need to see Fisher in his office. Gullickson was shown summoning tight end Benson Browne, kicker Taylor Bertolet, center Brian Folkerts, defensive tackle Zach Colvin and defensive back Michael Caputo, five of the 15 players waived by the Rams when they officially trimmed their roster to 75 players on Tuesday.
"What are you always looking at me for?" Gullickson told undrafted receiver Austin Hill and a group of other players. "You guys are all clear. Take a deep breath."
The final cuts are on Saturday, though.
Growing pains: Remember Jared Goff's first drive in Saturday's preseason loss to the Broncos, which ended with the rookie quarterback trying to run for a first down but coming up just short with an awkward-looking slide? Keenum chimed in from the sidelines: "Hey that might have been the worst slide I've ever seen, bud."
Goff explained that the brace on his left knee got caught in the grass.
Earlier in the show, quarterbacks coach Chris Weinke told Goff: "I know that you know this stuff, but you're not an expert at it yet. Not that anybody is an expert, but for example, Case has been around it longer. The more reps you get, the wider your vision becomes, the slower the game is for you. It doesn't just happen; it has to happen through reps and experience."
Mermaids and dinosaurs: Veteran defensive end William Hayes was noticeably excited to spot the mermaid who came to see him at practice. But he was skeptical and sarcastic while taking a personal tour at a dinosaur exhibit in Orange County. Hayes was told about the tyrannosaurus rex and said, "You don't see how ridiculous that sounds?" He was shown a dinosaur egg and said, "It's a rock." And then he was led to pieces of dinosaur feces, a development so unfathomable Hayes had to share it with teammate Eugene Sims via FaceTime.
"There's no way this even logically makes sense," Hayes said as he walked out.
Off to the side: Scrappy, 5-foot-8 cornerback Lamarcus Joyner was upset that he did not receive first-team reps during practice and was shown watching those reps off to the side by himself and pouting. The assumption here is that those reps instead went to E.J. Gaines that day.
"That's how you gonna act?" secondary coach Dennard Wilson asked as Joyner walked away. "That's how you gonna act?"
Previously, Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was shown saying Joyner is "one of the best press-cover guys I've ever coached."
Surf's up: Special teams coordinator John Fassel knows how to make an entrance. He arrived in the meeting room one day lying flat on a surfboard, carried by several of his Rams players, with a bucket hat on his head, sunscreen on his nose and fins on his feet. Then he led "Special Teams Jeopardy" for the fifth straight year. Sims ("fajita") and left tackle Greg Robinson ("lasagna") misspelled words and were thus ridiculed.