The first official “Fight for LA” is set to take place on Saturday night. The Rams take on the Chargers at the Coliseum at 5 PM PDT. This is the first time the two teams are squaring off in a game since the Chargers moved to share Los Angeles with the Rams. It is only a preseason game, but the ramifications go far beyond football for this matchup.
Starters get their final dress rehearsal before the regular season
The Rams starters have had a solid preseason. The offense especially has shown significant improvement across the board and looks to continue that trend. They will get their highest volume of work in the third game, although similar to last game. Despite earlier suggestions from head coach Sean McVay, the starters will likely play around two quarters, running back Todd Gurley may play less than that. The Rams have proved a lot this offseason and look to keep doing doing so. Quarterback Jared Goff especially has silenced his doubters, he looks to keep his momentum rolling towards the regular season.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Rams starters struggled their last time out. This game will be important for them to get going back in the right direction. Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips will be looking to make corrections.
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Certain starters look to make preseason debut
Robert Quinn and Kayvon Webster are key Rams defensive starters who are yet to see the field in game action. They will likely see some time on Saturday, pending any changes. Coach McVay noted that they may not play as much as other starters, but he feels it is important for them to get some game action if possible. Linebacker Mark Barron won’t play at all in the preseason. Barron is looking to return from injury week one against the Colts.
On offense, Tavon Austin is hoping to see the field as well on Saturday evening. Austin’s hamstring injury has held him out of game action thus far. It would be good for McVay to have an opportunity to try to find a place for him in the offense before the regular season begins. Austin will be a game time decision Saturday.
The first true “Fight for LA” ensues”
The Rams and Chargers now share a city. Both being in Los Angeles, they also share a fan base. The Rams returned from St. Louis before last season and this will be the Chargers first year in LA. The Rams had a fanbase existing in Los Angeles that they returned to, but their most recent fan base is very far away in St. Louis. However, the Chargers fan base mostly resides in San Diego. The fan base in Los Angeles is up for grabs and the team that performs the best will likely claim the most fans.
This game will obviously not be the deciding factor. This season will not even be the deciding factor, but you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Both the Rams and the Chargers are looking to make strong first impressions on the neutral LA fans on Saturday. Let the fight for LA commence.
Insight from Managing Editor of Cover32.com/chargers Mike D’Abate
The Chargers are coming off a loss to the Saints last Sunday. Their starters saw a very small amount of playing time. They struggled overall on offense, only scoring seven points. They were crippled in the run game, gaining 66 yards on 29 carries. They look to bounce back offensively on Saturday against a Rams front seven that has not been at full strength all preseason. On the other side of the football, Joey Bosa only had one tackle last week. He looks to provide a tough test for a Rams offensive line that has its weak points. The secondary will be lead by cornerbacks Desmond King and Jason Verrett, looking to slow the momentum of Jared Goff and the Rams pass attack.
Special thanks to Mike for his contributions to this article.