LA Rams Preseason Underway
Face the Raiders Saturday in Oakland
August 8, 2019
As the Los Angeles Rams were winding down their 2019 Training Camp at U.C. Irvine this past weekend, the front office was preparing to make a major announcement concerning the LA Stadium site in Inglewood. At a Tuesday press conference, the team introduced American Airlines as its first partner.
"As we continue Mr. Kroenke's vision to build the premier destination for sports and entertainment at Hollywood Park, we are proud to partner with an industry-leading business such as American Airlines," said Jason Gannon, Managing Director, LA Stadium and Entertainment District (LASED).
"From building playgrounds and rewarding fans with trips to games to flying the team to Super Bowl LIII, American Airlines and the Rams have made quite a team." said Kevin Demoff, Rams COO.
American Airlines will be a Founding Partner of LASED, the Los Angeles Chargers and Los Angeles Rams. As a part of the agreement, the airline will be the exclusive naming rights partner of American Airlines Plaza. The 2.5-acre open-air space will serve as a main entrance into the stadium and also be the main entry point that opens into a three-level lobby inside the stadium.
"For decades, Los Angeles has been one of American's most important markets and has played a major role in connecting Southern California to the rest of the world," said American Airlines President, Robert Isom.
"It is our mission to give our customers the world-class experience they deserve, and we are committed to doing so both at the airport and within the community. It's an exciting time for the City of Angels and for American Airlines."
Back on the field the Los Angeles Rams get ready to take on the Oakland Raiders this Saturday at Oakland-Alameda County Stadium in their first preseason game. Head Coach Sean McVay emphasized the camp mentality will continue joint workouts with the Raiders this week:
"We are still in camp mode for the next, really, week and a half or so. We got to continue to get great work day-in and day-out. We're looking forward to two good days of work against the Raiders."
McVay was asked about wide receiver Cooper Kupp and his return from injury last season: "I think just what great shape he's in. I think physically you don't see any effects of the knee injury. I think it's more just getting your feet underneath you and playing the game. I think he's gotten better every single day."
Linebacker Cory Littleton has been outstanding according to McVay. He's been able to seamlessly adjust between linebacker positions in the defenses sub packages. He's has great instincts and awareness."... he really demonstrated that he's a big-time linebacker and can really play on all three downs."
Taylor Rapp also impressed the coach because of his versatility. He's been able to play safety in the base defenses and is getting more comfortable. "He took some steps in the right direction, he showed up on the field. He's so conscientious he's going to keep getting better every day."
Just like last season the Rams are very unlikely to play any regular season starters during the four preseason games this August. The outside concerns about resting the starters last preseason died out quickly as the team busted out of the regular season starting gates with an 8-1 start.
This will be the third straight year the Rams have played the Raiders during the preseason. Last year the Rams beat the Raiders 19-15 at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. This will be the 22nd preseason meeting between the clubs with Oakland holding a 12-9 advantage.
The Raiders are led by head coach Jon Gruden, in his second year of a 10-year contract. Gruden also coached the Raiders from 1998-2001, compiling a 38-26 record in four seasons while finishing first in the AFC West twice. The Raiders suffered to a 4-12 record in 2018 after trading defensive standout Khalil Mack before the season started and later trading star wide receiver Amari Cooper.
The Raiders made a number of critical acquisitions in the off-season. Former one-year New England Patriot, offensive tackle Trent Brown signing a four-year, $66 million contract. Oakland used their fourth overall first-round pick in this year's NFL draft on pass rusher Clelin Ferrell of Clemson, who was the 2018 ACC Defensive Player of the Year.
The biggest fish they traded for was elite wide receiver and former Pittsburgh Steeler Antonio Brown. So far he has frustrated Coach Gruden by missing practices due to foot issues from a recent cryotherapy session. They also signed free agents: wide receiver Tyrell Williams, formerly of the L.A. Chargers and defensive back Lamarcus Joyner who spent five years with the Rams.
With the starters out of preseason action expect to see plenty of action from veteran quarterback Blake Bortles, who the Rams signed as a free agent in March. Bortles, the former Jacksonville Jaguar, is slated as backup quarterback to starter Jared Goff. The Rams got him for the bargain price of one million dollars for one year. The Jaguars still have to pay Bortles $5.5 million they owe from his previous contract.