The St. Louis Rams open training camp on July 31 at Rams Park in Earth City, Missouri. Here’s a closer look at the Rams' camp, which wraps up on Aug. 19:
Top storyline: Until something finally gets settled with the Rams, San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders and their potential relocation to Los Angeles, that's the issue that reigns supreme over this team. While the Rams are participating in training camp and preseason games, there will be a lot of noise around them as it pertains to Los Angeles -- some of it by their own creation. The team is to train with the Dallas Cowboys in Oxnard, California, just north of Los Angeles. That will draw many eyes and likely many fans of the old Los Angeles Rams. There is also another round of owners meetings set for Aug. 11 in Chicago. Those meetings won't yield a verdict, but will stir up more conversation. To this point, the Rams and coach Jeff Fisher have handled all Los Angeles questions as well as can be expected. As a chance to file for relocation and a vote draws near, there is no doubt the potential for distraction will only grow.
Position battles to watch: The most pressing position battle for the Rams is figuring out who will be the starter at center. Sure, they have some competitions at places like strongside linebacker, cornerback and backup quarterback, but each of those either already has some clarity or isn't as pressing as the man in the middle of the offensive line. Tim Barnes, Barrett Jones and Demetrius Rhaney are the contenders and each brings something different to the table. Barnes is the only one with starting experience, having started four games in 2013. Jones has been injured in his first two seasons, but is one of the team's most intelligent players and looks to finally be healthy. Rhaney is more of an unknown, but is also the most athletic of the three and might be the best fit in a more zone-oriented blocking scheme.
Veterans to watch: This is an important year for many Rams as they head toward unrestricted free agency. Quarterback Nick Foles, cornerback Janoris Jenkins and safety Rodney McLeod are starters scheduled to be unrestricted free agents after the season. That trio also happens to play positions integral to the team's success in 2015. Foles must prove he can succeed outside the comfort of Chip Kelly's offense in Philadelphia and in a much different scheme. Jenkins and McLeod both had a bad habit of giving up big plays that went for touchdowns in 2014. If the defense is to reach its vast potential, they must cut down on those types of mistakes.
Bubble watch: For the most part, there shouldn't be much drama involving big-name players in this camp. It's worth monitoring some of the members of the 2012 draft class who haven't produced as expected. Receiver Chris Givens and running back Isaiah Pead, fourth- and second-round choices, respectively, are entering the final year of their rookie deals. Neither has done enough to solidify himself as a long-term option. Elsewhere, the Rams have a unique situation at quarterback where veterans Case Keenum and Austin Davis are battling for the backup job behind Foles. With rookie Sean Mannion all but certain to win the third quarterback spot, the loser of their battle will likely end up looking for a job.
Putting the offensive pieces together: The defense looks poised for a breakthrough, but that won't mean much if an offense with many moving parts isn't able to come together quickly. It's a group that projects a new starter at quarterback (Foles), running back (Todd Gurley) and three spots on the line -- all under the guidance of a new offensive coordinator (Frank Cignetti Jr.). The changes to the offense don't figure to lead to a complete overhaul, but it was clear in the spring that there will be some alterations that require a learning curve, including more zone blocking for the line. Foles should be able to get up to speed quickly and was ahead of the game during organized team activities, but with two rookies likely starting on the offensive line -- guard Jamon Brown and tackle Rob Havenstein -- and an unknown at center, the line could take more time. Don't be surprised if the starting offense gets more snaps in preseason games as the Rams try to expedite the unit's progress.
For daily updates from camp, check out the St. Louis Rams' clubhouse page.