In a rematch of Super Bowl LVI, the Los Angeles Rams travel east to take on the Cincinnati Bengals in their final 2022 preseason game. The game comes on the heels of two midweek joint practices between the championship titans and Sean McVay flew the team out Tuesday for the scrimmages. Bengals coach and ex-Ram, Zac Taylor, shares McVay’s approach to to preseason games, opting for oversight on full contact practices to scrutinize team development.
Sean McVay is reportedly going to play his starters and key reserves in the Wednesday and Thursday scrimmages. It’s a total about face from LA’s preseason game norm of sitting starters and key reserves, preferring to allow roster battle/bubble candidates to garner the reps. McVay prefers to work his starters in a controlled atmosphere, getting them full speed and semi-live reps against stout competition. After Monday’s practice, McVay said in video press conference.
“The goal is really to get good work in positively, push one another... The goal is to really get a chance to practice (with) another really good football team where we positively push one another and really kind of test a lot of our rules that we have structurally offensively, defensively and in the kicking game. So that’s kind of the intent ... You can get good competitive work, a lot of situational stuff where we can kind of manipulate it (in a way) that sometimes doesn’t always unfold the way that you’d like ideally offensively and defensively. You’ll end up accumulating over 90 reps over the course of a couple days...”
Roster bubble about to burst, for different reasons
These live practices may be the final arbiter on which players make the opening roster, 38 players are battling for what realistically are 10 openings. It is tough to defend any proposition that asserts McVay and the Rams are waiting for the performances of the final preseason game to fill out the squad.
One thing to keep in mind over the next two days is that the Rams will get a better feel for where they want their final roster during this time, and perhaps far more so than even in the last preseason game.— Jourdan Rodrigue (@JourdanRodrigue) August 24, 2022
Injuries will play a big role in how player decisions end up being made. Guard Logan Bruss is out for the season. Edge Daniel Hardy suffered an in-game high ankle sprain and is out for a month. Off ball linebacker Travin Howard, safety Quentin Lake, wide receiver Van Jefferson, and edge Chris Garett have not participated in camp and may start the season with some kind of injury designation. Defensive tackle Bobby Brown only has his reputation tweaked, but still must sit out a six game suspension for PED abuse. And in what could either be nothing serious or a terrible end to great preseason story, guard Chandler Brewer sat out Monday’s practice with swelling in a lower extremity.
Rams 1st-string RG Coleman Shelton missed practice today with “a little swelling. He’ll be OK,” Sean McVay says. Jalen Ramsey and LB Ernest Jones stayed home with a stomach bug.— Greg Beacham (@gregbeacham) August 22, 2022
While these circumstances vary in their final outcomes, they will open roster spots for players farther down the food chain. Edges Keir Thomas and Benton Whitley, off ball line backer Jake Gervase, tackle AJ Arcuri, wide receiver Lance McCutcheon all are in line for a possible berth. None of them were considered as strong contenders when training camp opened.
How to follow the game
Date: Saturday, August 27
Kickoff: 3 p.m. PST
Location: Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio
Watch: Live on NFL Network, LA local station ABC7, Spanish broadcast on Estrella TV (KCRA), and affiliates, including KFMB (San Diego), KQCA (Sacramento), KSEE (Fresno), KBAK (Bakersfield), KSBW(Monterey), KTVX (Salt Lake City), and KGMB (Honolulu).
Live stream: LA Rams official app, NFL Plus, Hulu Live, fubo TV, Sling TV, Peacock, DIRECTV STREAM (formerly known as AT&T TV), and many others.
Listen: ESPN LA 710 AM, 93.1 Jack FM, Tu Liga 1330 AM
Current betting odds at DraftKings Sportsbook
Line: LA Rams +2.5 -110
Over/under total: 37.5
Money line: LA Rams +115 / Cincinnati Bengals -135