Wade Phillips stands in the middle of the Los Angeles Rams’ practice field, turning slowly to watch a group of defensive linemen going through drills near one end zone.
Phillips turns, shifting his gaze to the linebackers, near midfield, working on force fumble drill, and finally to the defensive backs, who are practicing catching interceptions by the far sideline.
Phillips, the Rams’ 70-year-old defensive coordinator, raises his right arm in the air and spins his right finger. Rotate! Phillips yells, then animatedly claps his hands as players trot past him.
You have no choice but to respect what he brings to the table, safety Lamarcus Joyner told USA TODAY Sports. He respects you. This isn’t daycare to him. He’s not trying to treat you like you need any special attention. He sets the platform of trust, and gives you the accountability to be able to trust you, and players, we hone in on stuff like that. We respect the fact that he respects us as human beings and as people.
So that begged the question when the precocious rookie stepped to the microphone following Wednesday’s minicamp practice: does Barkley remember any passes he has dropped upon taking the field after being drafted by the Giants seven weeks ago?
The honesty with which he responded was not the most impressive part of his answer.
The fact that Barkley was able to break down exactly what he did wrong on the play that featured his only drop as a professional to this point is just another facet to his quest for perfection.
An angle route out of the backfield.
Didn’t anticipate the defender and turned up the field without completing the catch.
Learn from it. Don’t let it happen again.