This year, there are no omnipresent cameras on hand to capture all of the Rams’ training-camp drama, and unlike 2016, defensive back Lamarcus Joyner is calm, cool and knows his role.
That job has changed, again, but Joyner has no complaints. The former cornerback seems settled as the Rams’ starting free safety and, through the first five days of camp, he has looked confident at the position he played in high school and during part of his college career at Florida State.
“It’s going well so far,” Joyner said this week. “I have a lot to learn and a lot to get done, but I’m taking it all in. The coaches, they all make it easy to adjust and transition, so I think I’ll be ready.”
That’s important for the Rams, who need a strong secondary to make defensive coordinator Wade Phillips’ system work. Joyner, listed at 5-foot-8, 190 pounds, certainly isn’t the biggest safety around, but he and Maurice Alexander have helped make the Rams’ secondary look strong thus far in camp.
Moreover, Joyner is settled and relaxed, which is more than the Rams could say of him a year ago.
During 2016 training camp, cameras for the “Hard Knocks” show captured a series of scenes in which Joyner missed a walk-through practice (without excuse), then had a meeting with Coach Jeff Fisher in which he expressed consternation with his role and said he “can go work at Walmart.”
The matter quickly got settled and Joyner settled into his role as the Rams’ nickel cornerback and thrived. He missed two games because of injury but still finished third on the team with 66 total tackles.
Coach Sean McVay and Phillips took over in January, and in April they signed cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman, a nickel specialist. What would that mean for Joyner? The coaches had a plan, to move Alexander to strong safety (to replace T.J. McDonald) and move Joyner to free safety.
This time, no sit-down, talk-it-out meetings were needed. Joyner immediately embraced the new role.
“I mean, I was calm last year,” Joyner said. “I had a few misunderstandings, but since this new coaching staff has come, they’ve given me the opportunity to prove myself and let my light shine. It feel like a dream come true, and I’m motivated and hungry to show what I can do for this organization.”
Joyner indicated that he isn’t alone. A second-round pick in 2014, Joyner has been part of Rams teams that have a combined record of 17-31. He came from a Florida State team that won the…