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Rams key dates: Scrimmages set for the next 2 Saturdays

With no preseason, teams must ramp up their internal competition

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Los Angeles Rams Training Camp Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Rams will hold scrimmages at SoFi Stadium at 5 p.m. PT on each of the next two Saturdays — Aug. 22 and Aug. 29 — with more info to come about the extent of play in these internal exhibition contests:

The Rams have scheduled two SoFi Stadium scrimmages for Aug. 22 and Aug. 29. Both scrimmages will kick off at approximately 5 p.m. PT so that players can get a feel for the 5:20 p.m. start time of their Sept. 13 season opener against Dallas. More details about these scrimmages should be released in the coming days.

With the preseason canceled, coaches must rely solely on the variables that matter to them outside of competition against other teams. The value of those games is debatable and though the perception may be that fringe roster guys will be hurt by not getting chances they’d otherwise receive, we also know that teams often release players who turn out to be good pros later down the line. Even sometimes when those players had successful preseason efforts.

Anthony Lynn commented on Hard Knocks that the Chargers would’ve overlooked Austin Ekeler had it not been for the fourth preseason game in 2017. But just because Lynn didn’t see enough of Ekeler in practice to confirm him as a member of the final 53-man roster, it doesn’t mean that no coach would have discovered him eventually. Danny Woodhead went undrafted in 2008, missed his entire rookie season with an injury, was released by the Jets again before the season opener in 2009, then released again by the team at the onset of the 2010 campaign.

And then of course he became a valuable player for the Patriots.

The lack of a preseason could mean that a good player gets away and that a team made a wrong decision about one player over another, but how is that different than every other year? Sometimes preseason games — especially when it comes down to fringe roster players vs fringe roster players — can just as easily fool coaches into keeping one player over another based on a handful of plays that eventually prove unrepeatable.

But that’s just playing some devil’s advocate in regards to the importance of there not being any preseason games this year. What I’d have a much more difficult time arguing against is not scrimmaging or “fake playing” at all. The Rams have so many decisions to make on the roster that these two internal scrimmages should at least help them assess the dominoes more than they can in practice. Doing so at SoFi Stadium with the lights on at 5 in the evening gives the moment a little more of an impact on those who haven’t played inside of an NFL stadium before.

And in the case of all 80 players on the roster, those who’ve never played in SoFi before.