Chargers begin 'Fight For LA' with practice against Rams
By BERNIE WILSON
Aug. 06, 2017
CARSON, Calif. (AP) — The so-called "Fight For LA" began with a rather tame affair Saturday between Los Angeles' two NFL teams in a suburban soccer stadium.
The Chargers, who relocated from San Diego earlier this year, got their first real look at StubHub Center when they hosted the Rams in a padded practice at the 30,000-seat StubHub Center. The practice, which included full contact but no tackling, drew only about 8,000 fans.
"I think this has a chance to be a heck of an atmosphere. I think we have to make sure we do our part on the field," Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers said.
After failing to get a new stadium built in San Diego, Chargers chairman Dean Spanos announced on Jan. 12 he was moving the team to the saturated Los Angeles market. Their marketing slogan , "Fight For LA," has been roundly mocked by fans in San Diego, where the Chargers played for 56 years.
There were no clear winners on Saturday, which featured some controlled scrimmaging with a scarcity of scoring.
"This was like before the first round bell," Rivers said. "I don't think this would even qualify."
Rather than uproot his family, Rivers will continue to live in north San Diego with his wife and eight children, and commute to the team's training base in Costa Mesa in Orange County, and to games in Carson in Los Angeles County.
The Chargers, who won only nine games combined the last two seasons and have just one playoff appearance in the last seven years, know they have to win to attract attention in Los Angeles.
"It's a great campaign, but right now, our guys, they're focused on fighting for one another and competing every single day they come out here to get better," new Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said. "If we do that, then I believe the people in LA can respect that."
As for Saturday, "I thought it was a good, clean practice, and no fights. I think there are plenty of teaching tape on both sides of the ball," Lynn said.
The Fight For LA shifts south on Wednesday when these two teams have another joint practice at the Rams' training camp site at UC Irvine.
The teams play an exhibition game Aug. 26 at the Coliseum. They do not play each other in the regular season."
How do the Rams view The Fight for LA?
"You know, we've got a game in about two or three weeks, so we'll see," Rams quarterback Jared Goff said.
The practice ended right about the time former Chargers star running back LaDainian Tomlinson was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Chargers star tight end Antonio Gates missed the practice so he could be in Canton to see his former teammate enshrined.
The Chargers will play at StubHub Center for three years before moving into a stadium in Inglewood being built by Rams owner Stan Kroenke. The Rams moved from St. Louis back to Los Angeles last season.
Although attendance Saturday was limited to Chargers season ticket holders, several Rams fans still got in. A group of Rams fans, who said they got tickets from Chargers fans they knew, mocked The Fight For LA.
"What fight?" said Rams fan Randy Troy of Palos Verdes. "The renters already lost. Stan says pay the rent. Knock yourself out, Dean. No one wants you here. This is LA Rams territory."
The Chargers host Seattle in their exhibition opener a week from Sunday. The Rams host Dallas next Saturday.
"I don't know that either side would tell you they really were that good today," said Rivers, who bemoaned some missed chances at big plays. "But we did some good things. We've got a long way to go."
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