Preseason games are back, and the Rams will kick off their three-week slate hosting the Chargers on Saturday at SoFi Stadium, in what will be the stadium's first NFL game with fans. Kickoff in Inglewood, Calif. is scheduled for 7 p.m. pacific time, with the contest being televised nationally on NFL Network (subject to local blackouts) and locally on KABC-7.
In advance of the contest, here is your first look at Rams-Chargers:
Notable Chargers additions
- Drafted offensive tackle Rashawn Slater 13th overall in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. The Northwestern product is second-year quarterback Justin Herbert's new blindside protector and was widely regarded as one of the top offensive tackle prospects in this year's class.
- Signed tight end Jared Cook to a one-year deal in March. Cook's arrival gives Herbert another experienced target in the passing game – the 2021 season marks Cook's 13th in the league. The 34-year-old tight end joints the Chargers after spending the last two seasons with the Saints.
- Hired Brandon Staley as their new head coach. Staley joined the Chargers after spending last year as the Rams' defensive coordinator, leading the unit to a No. 1 finish in the league.
Top performers in 2020
Herbert completed 396 of 595 pass attempts for 4,336 yards and 31 touchdowns with 10 interceptions, winning AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.
RB Austin Ekeler paced the Chargers' backfield with 116 carries for 530 yards, adding one touchdown. He also chipped in 54 receptions for 403 yards and two touchdowns in the passing game.
WR Keenan Allen led the Chargers receivers with 100 catches for 992 yards and eight touchdowns.
Then-rookie LB Kenneth Murray Jr. led the Chargers defense with 107 total tackles, while cornerback Michael Davis posted a team-high three interceptions. DE Joey Bosa collected 7.5 sacks in 12 games.
On special teams, K Michael Badgley converted 24 of 33 field goal attempts and 36 of 39 extra point attempts. P Ty Long averaged 46.8 yards per punt.
Early storylines to watch, and what they mean for the Rams
Will the Chargers play their starters? As of Aug. 8, that remains to be seen.
If they do – even for just a couple of series – it's still valuable for the Rams as they evaluate the rest of their roster.
That's especially the case as the Rams assess reserve quarterbacks Bryce Perkins and Devlin Hodges, who are scheduled to get plenty of reps after Rams head coach Sean McVay said Tuesday that John Wolford won't play in the preseason.
Saturday's game also gives the Rams another opportunity to assess their young running backs behind Darrell Henderson Jr. – whom McVay on July 26 also said won't play in the preseason – as the work to see what that rotation will look like.
Additionally, we'll get a look at the Rams' Raheem Morris-led defense and Joe DeCamillis-led special teams in a live game getting.