One of the first (and biggest) concerns for an NFL coaching staff when its team has a joint practice with another team is … well, let’s go with extracurricular activity.
Fighting at training camp has become all too common so when the Rams and Chargers held the first of their two shared training sessions on Thursday morning both sides were pleasantly surprised at how pleasant the proceedings were.
“I thought that was a good professional practice today,” said Chargers Head Coach Anthony Lynn. “No fighting. Three claps!”
The Rams held wide receiver Cooper Kupp out of most of the 11-on-11 sessions. Kupp is returning from a torn anterior cruciate ligament and L.A. wasn’t sure how chippy the practice was going to get.
“We really wanted to see what was the temp like before we put him out here,” said Rams Head Coach Sean McVay. “I think that, given the way the Chargers were so professional about how they practiced … and I’d like to think it was the same for our guys … I think you can expect to see him get some work on Saturday when we revisit these guys.”
When the emphasis is on improving your craft instead of hurting the guys in the other helmets the players can relax a little bit and even have an enjoyable day, something all too rare during the grind of an NFL training camp.
“It was fun. Fun competition, good versus good,” said Rams safety Eric Weddle. “There weren’t any cheap shots or anything you have to worry about. It was two great teams, great coaches who run their teams the right way and we got great work out of it.”
The Rams first-team offense was able to move the ball effectively against the Chargers first-team defense and they didn’t hold back. Jared Goff was running Sean McVay’s no-huddle attack, and it was definitely causing problems.
“They play at a faster tempo than what we’re used to seeing in practice and that’s going to get us right for games,” said Lynn. “That showed up a little bit in conditioning but it was a good, clean practice.”
On the other side of the ball Philip Rivers and the Chargers hit on their share of plays, too. Possibly because he didn’t try throwing all that often at Weddle. But the old friends did get a few chances to catch up.
“I love and have the utmost respect for him and all the players that I used to play with,” said Weddle. “It was fun to get out there on the practice field and compete.”
They’ll get to have another reunion on Saturday at U.C Irvine. Both sides are hoping that one stays cordial, as well.