For the second straight year, the Los Angeles Chargers will hold two joint practices with the New Orleans Saints before hosting them for a preseason game from ROKiT Field at StubHub Center.
What's different, though, is the timing.
The Saints' visit this year comes ahead of what is known as the "dress rehearsal" for the regular season. On Monday, Head Coach Anthony Lynn said the practices with New Orleans at Jack Hammett Sports Complex will dictate playing time on Saturday.
"Normally, you don't practice against a team (before) the third preseason game," he said. "But, we're going to practice with the Saints on Wednesday and Thursday, and it depends on how much work we get done in those two practices against each other."
Lynn said one of the benefits of joint practices is that it breaks up camp and allows the players to face a different opponent during the week. He also explained that the tempo of the practices become more game-like, which allows for a better assessment of players.
It's beneficial to face a quality opponent, too. The Saints, who won the NFC South last season with an 11-5 record, were a "Minneapolis Miracle" away from the conference championship game.
Lynn called last year's practices "nice, clean, good hard work" with "no fighting." Saints Head Coach Sean Payton and Lynn worked together at the Dallas Cowboys under Bill Parcells in 2005.
"Those guys are well coached," Lynn said. "They've got a great leader over there in Sean Payton and we hope to do it every year with the Saints. It's just a good coaching staff, and the players, they get it."
Both practices with the Saints this Wednesday and Thursday start at 10 a.m. Pacific. Visit chargers.com/camp for more details.
What to Watch for this Week:
-It starts with Philip Rivers and Drew Brees. The two were Chargers teammates from 2004-05. Together, they've combined for 120,793 passing yards, 830 touchdowns and 18 Pro Bowl selections in 31 NFL seasons (excluding playoffs).
-Fans will be treated to a pair of high-level WR-CB battles this week. There may be times when All-Pro cornerback Casey Hayward lines up across from Saints Pro Bowl wide receiver Michael Thomas. A Los Angeles native, Thomas has 196 catches, 2,382 yards and 14 touchdowns in two NFL seasons.
-The other must-see matchup on the outside features Pro Bowl wide receiver Keenan Allen against the Saints' reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year, Marshon Lattimore. The second-year cornerback had five interceptions and 18 passes defensed in 13 games last season.
-New Orleans also boasts last year's Offensive Rookie of the Year in running back Alvin Kamara. Like Lattimore, Kamara also made the Pro Bowl in his first season after generating 1,554 total yards and 13 touchdowns in 2017.
-The Chargers aren't the only team with a dominant pass rush. Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan finished No. 26 on the NFL's Top 100 Players of 2018. Jordan had 13 sacks, 62 total tackles and 11 passes defensed last season, earning first-team All-Pro honors. He'll present a formidable test for the Chargers' offensive line.