The Los Angeles Chargers will be hoping their offensive play can lead to success on and off the field as they battle the Rams for LA supremacy.
Fight for LA Off to Shaky Start for Rams, Chargers
The mantra for the Los Angeles Chargers since their controversial move up the coast from San Diego this off-season has been ‘Fight for LA’, pitting themselves in direct competition with cross-town rivals the Los Angeles Rams. With both teams new to the city and trying to win over a famously-fickle fan base, it is crucial to hit the ground running early this season. There may be only space for one NFL franchise in LA.
It is clear both teams have a long way to go.
The Rams may have had a year’s head start on the Chargers, but a catastrophic first season back in LA after a 22-year absence will not have swayed fans that the Rams and first overall pick Jared Goff are set to be kings of the city.
At times last season the 90,000 capacity Memorial Coliseum was not even half full.
The Chargers will be playing their 2017 home games at the much smaller StubHub Center. The players got their first real look at their new home over the weekend when they hosted the Rams in a padded practice. However, in bad news for both teams the practice, which was full contact but with no tackling, only drew approximately 8,000 fans.
The Fight for LA continues on Wednesday with another joint practice, this time at the Rams’ training camp at UC Irvine. The teams will also play a regular season game at the Coliseum on August 26, as both franchises look to entrench themselves as LA’s team.
Wining the Key to Attracting Support
While both franchises know the only real way to become top dog in Los Angeles is to win, win early and win often, winning is something neither team have done a lot of recently. The Chargers have only won nine games over the past two seasons, while the Rams’ haven’t had a winning regular season record since 2003. Needless to say, winning is the lifeblood of any sports’ franchise but for the two LA teams this need is more urgent than ever.
In a city with two major basketball teams, a high profile MLB side and various college programs with a devoted and passionate fan base, there is very little space available for a new team. Some might say there is only space for one new team. There is only so much media coverage, advertising revenue and fans willing to part with their time and their hard-earned dollars available.
It could come down to who wins first.
Chargers Offense Could Win Out
Fans want to see touchdowns. And this is where the Chargers could hold the advantage over the more defensive-minded Rams. The Rams’ stars, including destructive interior lineman Aaron Donald, are on the defensive side of the ball.
Goff could come good. Running back Todd Gurley has been promoted as the face of the franchise as he looks to rediscover his rookie season form. But for now the Rams possess one of the worst, and most boring, offenses in the game. Last season, they ranked 31st in the league in big plays – that is pass players of 25 yards or more and runs of over 10 yards.
The Chargers, on the other hand, not only ranked seventh in the NFL in big plays, they were also competitive in games heading into the final quarter, keeping fans glued to their seats. Contrast that with the Rams who consistently found themselves on the wrong end of one-sided games.
Led by veteran quarterback Philip Rivers – who threw for over 4,300 yards last season and 33 touchdowns – the Chargers have an offensive group to rival any in the league. Running back Melvin Gordon looks set to be a stud following his breakout 2016 season. Rivers also possesses one of the finest groups of pass catchers available to any quarterback in the NFL.
Fans like offensive football and in that regard the Chargers may already have the edge in the ‘Fight for LA’.