As we all know, Los Angeles elected to rest its starters against Baltimore for the preseason opener. Much of that decision likely stemmed from the work the Rams' starters were able to get against the Ravens' starters during their two days of joint practices.
Saturday's upcoming game against Oakland, however, presents different challenges. More than once, head coach Sean McVay has referred to the game as a unique situation, since the Rams will again take on the Raiders for the regular-season opener on Sept. 10.
"It's definitely a very different scenario than anything that I've dealt with as a coach and a lot of guys on our staff that we've talked about," McVay said Wednesday. "It's going to be an interesting way just to kind of see how the rest of the week unfolds for how we approach Saturday, but we'll figure that out a little bit later on in the week and it's definitely a different scenario for sure."
Parsing McVay's words a bit, it seems like the Rams will not play many — if any — starters once again on Saturday afternoon. Last week, right guard Jamon Brown and outside linebacker Samson Ebukam were the only starters who participated. They may or may not suit up to play the Raiders.
Otherwise, McVay indicated that Los Angeles will not do much game planning for the contest.
"It's going to be a very different approach than what we'd take in the regular season as far as the game plan is concerned, specifically just because we open with this team," McVay said. "So, I think it's another really good opportunity for us to evaluate a lot of guys, kind of continuing to have that long-term mindset of figuring out our 53[-man roster] and who those guys will potentially be as far as out active roster on game day. But, it'll be a great opportunity for us to evaluate guys and we'll see how that goes."
Also notable for this preseason matchup, McVay will be coaching against his mentor, in Raiders head coach Jon Gruden. A longtime friend of the McVay family, Gruden hired the Rams' head coach for his first NFL coaching job as an offensive assistant back in 2008.
"Oh, I'm looking forward to it. I think everybody that knows coach Gruden knows what a great thing it is to have him back in coaching and what he's meant to me and how influential he's been," McVay said. "It's certainly a special experience just because of what that family and specifically Jon's meant for me."
Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m. at the Coliseum on Saturday afternoon. The game will be broadcast on KCBS and ESPN LA locally, and simulcast for a national audience on NFL Network.