While his team’s marketing slogan is “Fight for L.A.,” Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said he does not think there is a rivalry between the teams “because none of us have done anything yet.”
“Maybe the fight is between the marketing departments,” Lynn said after Wednesday’s practice at the Jack Hammett Sports Complex in Costa Mesa.
The Chargers are in their first season back in Los Angeles after 56 seasons in San Diego. The Rams were 4-12 in 2016, their first season back in Southern California after 22 seasons in St. Louis.
The game is the third of the preseason for both teams which is traditionally treated as a dress rehearsal for the season opener because starters get little or no playing time in the final preseason game to avoid the risk of an injury that would sideline them for the regular season.
Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said his starters will play in the first half.
“We’ve condensed our backup units to guys we want to see,” said Lynn, whose team is 0-2. The Chargers last started a preseason 0-3 in 1999, when they were 0-5 in the preseason and 8-8 in the regular season.
Rams coach Sean McVay said he didn’t think his starters would play into the third quarter.
The Rams are 2-0 in the preseason. They last started a preseason 3-0 in 2011 when they were 4-0 in the preseason and 2-14 in the regular season.
The Chargers’ anemic offense is expected to get a boost from the return of starting quarterback Philip Rivers, who did not play in Sunday’s 13-7 loss to the New Orleans Saints. The Chargers offense has failed to score on 18 consecutive possessions dating back to the preseason opener Aug. 13 and failed to score a touchdown on 22 consecutive possessions.
Rivers guided the Chargers to a touchdown in his only series of the preseason.
Both coaches expressed confidence there would not be a repeat of the fights that occurred when the teams held a joint practice Aug. 9 at UC Irvine.
“I hope the guys play with the same fire and intensity but we’ll have the discipline not to have fights,” Lynn said.
Said McVay: “We’re hoping that it will be a good, competitive game where we’ll play within the framework of the rules and that’s what we expect from our players.”
Most stadium gates will open at 3 p.m. for the 5 p.m. game with Gates 1 and 28 opening at 2 p.m. for fans wishing to visit the Corona Beach House or Rams Party Zone spaces located on the Peristyle end of the Coliseum that feature concessions and shade open to all ticketholders.
The Rams Fan Fest on Christmas Tree Lane in Exposition Park on the east side of the Coliseum will open at noon. Activities include a Kids’ Zone, KSPN- AM’s (710) live pregame radio show and opportunities to win exclusive Rams experiences.
KSPN hosts Marcellus Wiley and Keyshawn Johnson, both former NFL players, will race in a 40-yard dash at 1:45 p.m., with pre-race festivities beginning at 1 p.m. near the ESPN LA Stage.
Rosey Grier, a member of the Rams’ famed 1960s defensive line known as the Fearsome Foursome, will be joined by the defending Los Angeles City Section Division I football champions from Narbonne High School in symbolically lighting the Coliseum’s torch.
The game comes one day short of the 50th anniversary of the first preseason game between the two teams, won by the Rams, 50-7, at San Diego Stadium.