The Los Angeles Rams will open preseason play for 2019 Saturday against the Oakland Raiders in a game coach Sean McVay said represents “an opportunity for some of our younger players to compete, get a chance to do their thing.”
The 89-player roster includes 28 rookies, 14 first-year players — players who previously attended a training camp — and 12 second-year players, all of whom have spent time on a roster during the regular season.
The Rams are expected not to play their starters during the preseason, like they did last season when they had a league-best equaling 13-3 regular season and reached the Super Bowl for the first time since the 2001 season.
Blake Bortles is expected to start at quarterback for the Rams in the game at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, which begins the Raiders’ final season in Oakland before their move to Las Vegas.
“He’s going to play a couple series,” McVay said.
“He’s had a really good camp. He’s really been impressive when you look at a guy that’s had a lot of success as a starter in some different systems, how quickly he’s been able to come in here, digest the material, be able to own it and then be able to help get guys on the same page with some of the younger guys he’s playing with.”
Bortles signed with the Rams on March 19, six days after being released by the Jacksonville Jaguars in connection with their signing of former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles. Bortles started 73 of 80 regular-season games from 2014-18 for the Jaguars, who made him the third choice in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Bortles views Saturday’s game “as an opportunity for me to get a new resume on tape and for us, the guys to get an opportunity to play, to go and kind of build that resume and get some good plays and some good work on tape and get a little bit of game-like atmosphere.”
The other quarterbacks expected to play for the Rams on Saturday also have never played a regular-season game for the team. Brandon Allen, listed third on the depth chart behind Bortles and Jared Goff, has been with the Rams since 2017. He spent the 2018 season on the practice squad.
John Wolford started seven of eight games for the Arizona Hotshots of the defunct Alliance of American Football earlier this year and was twice selected as the league’s player of the week.
The Raiders will not play some of their starters after they participated extensively in joint practices with the Rams Wednesday and Thursday, coach Jon Gruden said.
“We’re going to take a look at some young players, some guys that need the opportunity,” Gruden said.
Oakland was 4-12 in 2018, including a 33-13 loss to the Rams in the season opener. The Rams defeated the Raiders, 19-15, in a preseason game in 2018.
Two quarterbacks who have never played a regular-season game for Oakland are expected to play Saturday.
Mike Glennon was signed as an unrestricted free agent March 22 after playing two games for the Arizona Cardinals in 2018. He started 13 games as a rookie for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2013.
Nathan Peterman spent the final two weeks of the 2018 season on the Raiders practice squad. He started two games for the Buffalo Bills in both the 2017 and 2018 seasons.
Oakland’s roster includes two members of the 2018 Rams, safety Lamarcus Joyner and defensive tackle Ethan Westbrooks.
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