Rams Vs. Chargers Preseason Preview: First Look At Revamped Roster
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

After a longer than normal offseason after failing to make the postseason, the Los Angeles Rams are going to be back in action Saturday night when they take on their SoFi Stadium co-tenants, the Los Angeles Chargers.

The Rams are entering uncharted territory for the first time under the Sean McVay era as they’ve got numerous young players who are competing for starting spots. Training camp has featured several different position group battles and the preseason game against the Chargers will get those players the first opportunity to make their case to not only make the 53-man roster but play an important role during the 2023 season.

Aside from the young talent on the team, McVay could be planning to play some of his more experienced players in order to figure out the best combinations and groupings on both sides of the field. This is another shift in philosophy as McVay has normally held out veterans in preseason, but with so many new pieces to integrate he might need to buck that trend.

Rams Offense vs. Chargers Defense

Although Matthew Stafford is fully healthy for the first summer since coming to Los Angeles, he is most likely to sit out the entirety of the preseason in order to keep him fresh. Without Stafford, Stetson Bennett is expected to draw the start with Brett Rypien working in as his backup, although that could swap at some point as well.

The Rams took Bennett in the fourth round of the 2023 NFL Draft and has made impressions on McVay and Stafford during training camp. Although he doesn’t have the strongest arm, Bennett’s able to keep plays alive with his legs and hit receivers on the move.

With Cooper Kupp dealing with a hamstring injury, players like Tutu Atwell and Puka Nacua should see more reps in the passing game. Atwell has demonstrated a better understanding of each receiver position, while Nacua appears ahead of the learning curve when it comes to the scheme.

Rams Defense vs. Chargers Offense

L.A.’s defense will be of particular interest, especially the pass rush and secondary. Michael Hoecht has been working as a full-time edge rusher, but Byron Young has also shown impressive flashes.

Cobie Durant has already been seeing more time at the star, but aside from him the rest of the secondary starting spots seem up for grabs. Russ Yeast and Quentin Lake figure to draw the first look as the starting safeties, while Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson is going to make a case to start in the slot this preseason.

Keys to Victory

1. Keep things simple

The first preseason game is always going to be rough for teams as they work primarily with backups who haven’t had much experience in the system. For the Rams, this is particularly true so keeping the play-calling simple will go a long way.

2. Play error free

As tempting as it can be for players vying for roster spots to try and stick out on tape, the goal should be to stay disciplined and stay within scheme. Playing as error-free as possible will gave the Rams more chances to start off the preseason on the right foot.