ST. LOUIS — NFL cornerbacks are a confident bunch.
From the New York Jets' Dee Milliner claiming this week he is the league's best cover man to the Seattle Seahawks' Richard Sherman's infamous post-game rant in last season's NFC Championship game, cornerbacks never seem to be lacking in the ego department.
The way former Missouri and current St. Louis Rams rookie cornerback E.J. Gaines describes it, the swagger that has come to define his position is innate.
"Confidence is just something that comes with your personality," Gaines said.
Gaines' seems to be building in that department as he progresses through Rams training camp. He picked off an errant Sam Bradford pass last Friday, made a leaping interception during a 7-on-7 drill last Saturday and started to get some first team defensive reps Friday.
The Rams scrimmaged Saturday in the Edward Jones Dome. They open their preseason Friday against the New Orleans Saints. For late-round draft picks such as Gaines, the possibility exists that it will be their first and only game with the Rams as coach Jeff Fisher begins to make roster cuts.
"As far as being drafted late, I could have been drafted in the first, been a free agent — it doesn't really matter," Gaines said. "I'm out here putting on a show for the coaches and showing them I can play at this level."
Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams said this week he is still working on installing the team's defense. Known for his creative blitz packages, Williams' system requires a lot from the secondary.
"When we get ready to start each day, we give them a set group of parameters that we want them to use ... so they're starting to build confidence and we're starting to teach them," Williams said.
"They're taking the right steps, and they've done a lot of really, really good things. But until we get into the live competition so that we can see them handle the heat of a real game and see that they can tackle in space, that's going to be the next step."
Fisher said after the scrimmage that he likes what he's seen out of his rookies, who also include former Missouri defensive end Michael Sam. Although they are busy learning the team's playbook and adjusting to an NFL work load, Fisher said their confidence is not an issue.
"This game's not too big for any of our rookies," Fisher said.
Still, Gaines knows there is a big difference between a scrimmage with teammates and an actual NFL game. Although preseason matchups rarely match the intensity level of regular season Sundays, Gaines said he is looking forward to coming back to the Edward Jones Dome and trying to impress his coaches.
"I think it will be more real whenever I actually put that jersey on and play against another team," Gaines said.
As always, Gaines will be confident.
Supervising editor is Sean Morrison.