COSTA MESA—All 32 NFL teams welcomed fans to Back Together Weekend, kicking off the NFL season starting July 29. Fans had an up close and immersive experience, as the Chargers were in Costa Mesa, the Rams were at UC Irvine.
Canyon News visited Chargers training camp at 8 a.m. at the Jack Hammett Sports Complex to catch a glimpse of the AFC contenders with special appearances by Chargers Legends including Hall of Fame Running Back LaDainian Tomlinson, Kassim Osgood, and Lorenzo Neal, performances by the Thunderbolts, exclusive fan giveaways, and a Fan Zone with partner activations, giveaways, and DJ Santana.
At the mark of 10 and 7, the Bolts reached the AFC Playoffs, but lost a heartbreaker to the Jacksonville Jaguars, 31-30.
The defense is led by Safety Derwin James, Defensive End Joey Bosa and Linebacker Khalil Mack. Its an aggressive defense which creates turnovers, as well as rushing the quarterback.
On the offense, the Chargers need to find consistency. In the off-season, they signed Kellen Moore to be the new offensive coordinator. Moore was previously the offensive coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys. He will likely open the playbook and have Justin Herbert throw the ball down field.
The Chargers have the roster on both sides of the ball, what they lack is the ability to stay healthy. In addition, the Chargers are notorious for blowing huge leads while committing an ungodly amount of penalties.
Herbert was dealing with injured ribs throughout the duration of 2022, but in 2023 he is primed to be a candidate for the NFL MVP accolade. Offensive skill players like Austin Ekeler, Keenan Allen and Mike Williams are fantastic, and the team added first-round receiver Quentin Johnston in this year’s draft.
Johnston has the strength and speed to be a star right out of the gate. His playmaking, athleticism and desire stood out during the hour and a half of workouts. Anyone who plays (or is obsessed) with Fantasy Football should draft him as a sleeper.
Canyon News arrived at UC Irvine to view the Los Angeles Rams, who won Super Bowl LVI, in 2022, but had a 5-12 bender of a season last year.
Rams Quarterback Matthew Stafford is back for another season, unfortunately Wide Receiver Cooper Kupp injured his hamstring on August 1. His timetable is likely a few weeks before he returns to the field.
The Rams are a work in progress filled with young players. One of the standouts is former Georgia quarterback, rookie Stenson Bennett.
Stafford has been a full-go in practices, and his chemistry with Kupp and Jefferson has been positive. Bennett has been doing all of the right things to earn the No. 2 spot behind Stafford and he’ll look to carry over his momentum from practices into the preseason.
The Family Zone includes a video game truck, 40-yard dash, Rams Football Academy tent, prize wheel, face paint, balloon art, broad jump and vertical jump.
Los Angeles Rams Training Camp goes through August 8, and admission is free. Chargers camp is until August 18.
Both camps we’re a blast. It had the ambiance of a carnival, a football fair if you will.