THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – One last dress rehearsal, one last chance to assess the back-end of the 80-man roster.
With no preseason games this year, Saturday's second and final scrimmage inside SoFi Stadium – scheduled to kick off around 1 p.m. pacific time – will give Rams head coach Sean McVay and his staff their final best chance to do both.
"Just good, crisp execution on both sides," McVay said, when asked during a video conference Thursday morning what he's looking to get out of the team's last scrimmage. "You want to limit the self-inflicted wounds, the pre-snap penalties. Whether it's jumping off sides offensively or defensively. You want to see guys play with the right fundamentals and techniques, communicate at a high level."
The first scrimmage gave Los Angeles' coaching staff "about 150 plays" by McVay's estimation to evaluate on film, though the players' workload won't be quite as intensive this time around. McVay attributed the playcount last Saturday to "getting guys up to speed and in game shape."
"I think you'll see a lot of our top guys try to get in between anywhere from 45 and 50 snaps and the same for some of our other players in that second half," McVay said. "I think you're looking more at 90-100 plays, as opposed to 140 or something that we got (last week)."
That still leaves plenty of opportunities for the rest of the roster ahead of a key deadline.
One week after Saturday's scrimmage – Sept. 5, 1 p.m. pacific time – teams must reduce their 80-man rosters to their initial 53-man regular season form. While the Rams have been consistent about creating competition for players fighting for roster spots in training camp practice by having the reserves face the first team defense, for example, those remaining 50-55 snaps will be a crucial part of evaluating the rest of the roster.
"It's going to be a really good opportunity for some of our younger players to get a significant amount of work in the second part of this scrimmage," McVay said. "Everything we do is important and evaluated, but this certainly represents a big 'Opp' for a lot of guys."
Along with continued roster evaluation, one goal from the first scrimmage that will carry over to the second will be becoming more comfortable with a new home gameday routine.
"Staying at a new team hotel the night before and just being comfortable getting to the stadium, where they park, and how they're getting to the locker room," McVay said. "As you guys saw, that's quite a stadium. So, I just want to get all those things that sometimes you take for granted in a year where you don't have those preseason opportunities to usually get that stuff figured out. That's as big a part of this as anything."
From a player perspective, quarterback Jared Goff's goal is sharpness and efficiency during the time the first team offense and first team defense share the field.
"And just distribute the ball a little bit better than I did in the previous scrimmage, just take completions where they were," Goff said during a video conference Thursday evening. "I thought we had a good first half last scrimmage, the second half kind of got away from us a little bit. But get back to that first half-feeling we had and just distribute the ball."
The Rams will air pre- and post-scrimmage shows on their website, YouTube channel and Facebook and Twitter pages.
Voice of the Rams J.B. Long, co-host Maurice Jones-Drew, team reporter Sarina Morales and Rams legend D'Marco Farr will preview the action before the start of the scrimmage, then cover the highlights and top takeaways once the scrimmage concludes.
Additionally, theRams.com will be publishing halftime notes and a post-scrimmage 10 observations recap.