In an offseason that's been all about making adjustments, the Rams experienced perhaps their biggest one to date: stepping on the turf inside of their new home.
Sean McVay, Jared Goff and the Rams conducted their first practice at SoFi Stadium on Saturday, giving L.A. its first up-close look at the behemoth that is the $5-billion venue. The spectacle of it all was certainly not lost on the franchise quarterback.
"It's truly unbelievable and one of the crown jewels in sports," Goff said after practice, according to team writer Stu Jackson.
The ever-energetic McVay felt similarly in awe. "How amazing? I think you guys appreciate this is something spectacular. Never seen anything like it," he told reporters, per Joe Curley of the Ventura County Star.
Originally, the Rams were slated to face the Chargers, the franchise they share the incredibly pristine stadium with, in what would've been their second preseason matchup. Of course, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic led to the cancellation of preseason games, meaning that inner-city battle will have to wait.
Still, the scrimmage gave the Rams a valuable opportunity to take the field in a setup that, at least on the surface, resembled actual football. With the double-sided Oculus video board beaming overhead, Goff and his offense, donning the new "Bone" uniform, got their first feel for the new surroundings while Aaron Donald and the defense did the same in their new royal blue unis. Only three weeks remain until they'll have some real competition to line up across from when the Cowboys come to town.
Aside from first- and second-teams working through the on-field kinks, the dress rehearsal also highlighted an underlying issue that would hamper the Rams with or without fans in attendance. McVay said afterwards that there were "a lot of issues with the communication on the coaches' headsets" before describing the situation as "very chaotic," per Greg Beacham of the Associated Press. With Sept. 13 drawing near, one would expect those technical difficulties to be corrected soon.
The Rams' next scrimmage will take place on Aug. 29, affording the club another chance to try to create an in-game type of environment to prepare in. It's still unclear if they'll be able to play in front of their fans at all this season but, for now, the Rams can at least find solace in the fact that getting on the field at SoFi means they're one step closer to the real thing.