The Los Angeles Rams’ 2019 preseason schedule came out today. It’s an interesting foursome that will help the Rams tune up their roster in an attempt to rebound from their loss in Super Bowl LIII with an appearance in Super Bowl LIV.
Here’s what we’re looking at.
Week 1 - @ Oakland Raiders
The Rams head north to kick off the Raiders’ final season in Oakland. It’s the second year for Head Coach Jon Gruden but just the first with Mike Mayock in the GM armchair.
The latter of the two is sure to play a huge part in guiding the Raiders through the 2019 NFL Draft where they have four of the top 35 selections. We’ll have to see how much Gruden decides to let his new draft stars play.
As for the Rams, it’s our first look at the new 2019 roster depth. It’s fair to assume Head Coach Sean McVay will take a similar approach to the preseason as he did last year in sitting his core starters. He did play EDGE Samson Ebukam and RG Jamon Brown who was expected to return to a starting role after a two-game suspension though RG Austin Blythe’s performances negated that return. So perhaps we’ll see some of the less-experienced starters and guys with less hold on their starting jobs play early on.
For the most part though, it will be the back two-thirds of the 90-man roster in action.
Week 2 - v.* Dallas Cowboys
* - Game to be played in Honolulu, HI
Ah, yes. The Rams and the Cowboys. Tied together at the hip since 2015.
We know Rams Owner Stan Kroenke has long turned his eye across the Pacific toward Asia. He mentioned as much in the 2016 offseason:
Well...we’re halfway there!
Validation game here to see how the back of the roster performs compared to the first game. I also wonder how much run the Cowboys’ starters get. Could be very interesting to see Rams backup QB Blake Bortles going against the Cowboys’ starting defense. And Tavon Austin!
Week 3 - v. Denver Broncos
The final preseason game in the Coliseum. Next year, we’ll be in our new home stadium in Inglewood. So history being made...albeit kinda boring history. But history!
This one’s the last functional preseason game as the fourth will be for the deepest section of the roster.
So if there are key 53-man roster decisions, this game is the one that would have the most impact though much of that is down to practices and training camp and the offseason program and not preseason gameplay.
With the Broncos now being led by veteran QB Joe Flacco with a potential rookie QB coming into the fold, this one has some intrigue. Plus, it’s a chance for Rams Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips and CB Aqib Talib to link up with some former colleagues.
Week 4 - @ Houston Texans
Strange one, but fitting to close out the preseason. Last year’s preseason finale offensive snap count leaders? WR Fred Brown, OL Jamil Demby, OT Cornelius Lucas and OL Aaron Neary.
Get your roster nerd on.
What game are you looking forward to most? Any matchups you’re interested in? Which guys that barely made the 53-man roster in 2016 are looking at big matchups in these games?