So this is the ‘Fight for L.A.’
The Rams and Chargers have three outbreaks during second joint practice in five days.
The Chargers officially launched their “Fight for L.A.” campaign Wednesday with the release of a slick two-minute video, featuring players extolling the virtues of the team and their embrace of a new city, that began circulating on social media and will soon air on television.
If the Chargers wanted to punch up the commercial a bit, they could edit in some clips of Wednesday’s joint practice with the Rams, which featured three fights, each resulting in shoving matches between large groups of angry players and one in which Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson slugged Chargers receiver Dontrelle Inman in the head.
“Man, I don’t know,” Inman said at the Rams’ UC Irvine training facility, when asked if his team was taking the “Fight for L.A.” video literally. “Sometimes you put it out there, you believe in it, and that’s how we’re rolling.”
The first scuffle broke out between Johnson and Inman in one of the first oneone-drills of the afternoon. Both went up for a long pass from Philip Rivers and pulled each other to the ground as the ball fell.
The two got up. Angry words were exchanged. Johnson ripped off his helmet, slammed it to the ground and swung at Inman.
“He probably landed a punch on my helmet, which is kind of nothing,” Inman said. “I think that’s stupid. If you break your hand, then what?”
Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman snuck in from the side and shoved Inman to the ground. Chargers receiver Keenan Allen tackled Robey-Coleman. Chargers defensive players from the other field rushed over to join the fray.
“Your brother’s going to war, you’ve got to be there to back him up,” Chargers running back Melvin Gordon said. “You can’t be afraid. You can’t be scared. Sometimes, you’ve got to go in there, even if it’s not in your character.”
Order was restored … for about five minutes. In an 11on-11 play, Rams cornerback E.J. Gaines and Chargers receiver Jamaal Jones got tangled up away from the ball and came up fighting. The two were quickly surrounded by players who began shoving each other and throwing punches.
Later, on a special teams play, Chargers defensive end Chris McCain got into a fight with Robey-Coleman and Gaines. Chargers coach Anthony Lynn had seen enough. He kicked McCain out of practice.
“At some point, you have to make an example out of somebody,” Lynn said. “We weren’t gonna fight all day.”
Did Lynn come close to calling the practice?
“You know, I don’t want to just get on the bus and go home,” he said. “I like to work through things, and that’s what we did. … We had a productive practice after all the fighting and everyone settled down.”
The Rams and Chargers don’t play each other in the regular season, but they will square off in an Aug. 26 preseason game in the Coliseum.
“I think we’ve built a nice little rivalry against the Rams,” Gordon said. “That’s kind of what I got out of today.”
Gordon said it’s important to develop some feistiness, “but not to the point where we’re fighting,” he said. “We’ve got to play clean and smart football. On game day we’ve got to be a lot smarter, minimize what we did today. But you want that grit. You want that kind of fire. You’ve got to know how to control it.”
Among the highlights for the Chargers on Wednesday were two touchdown passes from Rivers to Allen during red-zone drills, a knockdown of a Jared Goff pass by defensive tackle Corey Liuget, a 49-yard field goal by Josh Lambo (Younghoe Koo was wide right from that distance) and a nice roll-out pass from reserve quarterback Cardale Jones to Artavis Scott. Jones also missed a read, and a short pass was picked off by Troy Hill, who had a clear shot to the end zone. Veteran tight end Antonio Gates also caught at least six passes. … Receiver Tyrell Williams sat out because of what Lynn called “tired legs.” Cornerback Casey Hayward’s day was cut short by what appeared to be a minor ankle injury. Reserve tight end Jeff Cumberland was helped off the field after suffering what appeared to be a leg injury. … Cornerback Jason Verrett, recovering from knee surgery, participated in seven-on-seven drills.
RAMS cornerback E.J. Gaines is on top of Chargers receiver Jamaal Jones at UC Irvine.