Rams and Chargers fight it out for LA supremacy

Too close for comfort: : Los Angeles Rams cornerback Kayvon Webster (21) clamps down on Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen (13) during scrimmage play at UC Irvine on Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline

IRVINE, CA-The Los Angeles Rams and the Los Angeles Chargers proved in their inter-squad scrimmage that the fight for LA is real with several fights breaking out during the second practice between the two teams this summer.

The intensity level of the team’s second scrimmage between each other was turned up to game-level temperature with the random melees and the physical nature of the practice that took place at UC Irvine where the Rams are holding their training camp.

Los Angeles Rams defensive back Kayvon Webster (21) provides some bump-n-run coverage on Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Travis Benjamin (12) during the team’s scrimmage at UC Irvine on Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline

Rams coach Sean McVay wasn’t particularly alarmed by the skirmishes that broke out, seeing the altercations as being reflective in the way players compete on the field.

“I think anytime you practice against somebody else guys are competitive, especially after the first day where there’s some good back and forth,” McVay said. “Starting out with the one on ones, guys are competitors that’s what makes them great. We always want to be smart about it, but those are things that we’ll be able to look at and figure out exactly what happened. Going to back and forth, it’s hard to exactly say what’s had gone on. But, I thought the guys did a nice job regaining their poise and finding a way to get through this practice where we both got something out of it.”

Mixing it up: Defensive and offensive linemen from the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers go at it during the team’s scrimmage at UC Irvine on Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline

Chargers running back Melvin Gordon said sometimes these altercations are unavoidable.

“You try to stay away from them, but sometimes you’re just out here and you’re just trying to compete, and sometimes this is what happens,” Gordon said. “We got to play clean and smart football. On game day, obviously, we’ve got to play a lot smarter and minimize what we did today. You want that grit and you want that kind of fire. You got to know how to control it.”

Several players from the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers get into a skirmish during their inter-squad scrimmage at UC Irvine. One player was ejected from the physical practice that took place on Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline

With that said, Gordon is quick to add the he wouldn’t hesitate to have his teammates’ backs.

“You got to be there for one another,” said Gordon. “Your brother goes to war, you’ve got to be there to back him up. You can’t be afraid. You can’t be scared. Sometimes, you’ve got to go in there.”

As far as the game-like intensity level on the football field, Gordon said it’s only going to manifest.

“You got to lock in because they’re coming now,” Gordon said. “Your intensity has got to reach theirs. You just lock in more and you just really got to pay attention to the details.”

Los Angeles Rams tight end Temarrick Hemingway (84) heads up field against the Los Angeles Chargers defense during scrimmage practice at UC Irvine on Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline

Interesting enough, all the clashes on the field occurred where the Rams defense was going up against the Chargers offense.  McVay chalks up the on-field testiness to players simply challenging one another.

“Guys are great competitors,” McVay said. “Like I said, we always want to be mindful, smart about how we do this. I’ve been a part of something like this when we practiced against the (Houston) Texans in Washington. Fortunately nobody got hurt as a result of it and we’ll try to be mindful of those things moving forward.”

Los Angeles Chargers tight end Antonio Gates (85) is surrounded by a whole host of Los Angeles Rams defensive players during scrimmage action on Wednesday, Aug.9, 2017. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline

Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson, who was front and center of the first breakout session between the two teams, said the incidents that took place were merely echoes of practice.

“It’s a friendly competition. It’s football,” Johnson said. “It’s a contact sport. It’s that day in the camp…where it’s a long day, and you’re playing somebody else. This is not my first rodeo. I love it when it’s sparking like that. But at the same time, game time, you know that’s not gonna to happen. It’s practice. It’s just one of those days.”

Dennis J. Freeman
About Dennis J. Freeman 1138 Articles
Dennis covers the NFL (Chargers), NBA (Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers), Major League Baseball (Los Angeles Dodgers) and NCAA sports (USC, UCLA, Long Beach State). Dennis has also covered and written on topics such as civil rights, politics and social justice. Dennis is a proud alum of Howard University.