Three days into August, the Chargers and Rams have gotten a head start on the rest of the league in the joint practice department.
After hosting the Rams at Jack Hammett Sports Complex in Costa Mesa Thursday, the Chargers were on the campus of UC Irvine Saturday afternoon to complete the home-and-home with their L.A. neighbors. Head coach Anthony Lynn said the two teams who conduct training camp just seven miles apart made each other better over the last 72 hours.
"Any time you can practice against a team of this caliber in a controlled environment, I think it's good," Lynn said. "I think you're getting live game reps and you're saving players from injury as much as possible."
Lynn added that it's "priceless" to put players in situations where they're playing against top competition, while also staying somewhat protected. The Chargers will have had 10 full practices – two against the Rams – before next Thursday's preseason opener in Arizona.
Lynn said it's yet to be determined who will play against the Cardinals. After Saturday's practice, quarterback Philip Rivers explained that at this stage of his career, the reps he gets in a controlled joint practice are more valuable than limited snaps in an August exhibition.
"I got more work in these last two days than I've ever gotten probably in the last 10 preseason games combined," Rivers said. "I just didn't get touched today, which was nice. I've thrown 80 passes in two practices. That's like two games. So, it's been awesome."
Later this month, the Chargers will host the other half of last season's NFC Championship Game – the New Orleans Saints – for two joint practices at Jack Hammett Sports Complex. The Rams and Saints had a combined 26-6 record in the 2018 regular season.
Odds and ends – Rivers ran in a would-be touchdown during the 11-on-11 period. … The Chargers' defense had back-to-back pass breakups in the 7-on-7 period. On the first, linebacker Thomas Davis stayed stride-for-stride with wide receiver Cooper Kupp, knocking the ball away. Cornerback Casey Hayward deflected a ball intended for wide receiver Brandin Cooks on the next play. … Cornerback Michael Davis intercepted quarterback Jared Goff during 11-on-11s. … The Chargers are back at Jack Hammett Sports Complex Sunday for a 10 a.m. practice. Visit chargers.com/camp to register for your free tickets.
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Take a look through the top photos from training camp as the Bolts practice at Rams camp in Irvine.