Rams and Raiders ready to fight — er, practice; rookie QB Stetson Bennett progresses


It is not a certainty that a fight will break out, but history suggests that one will.

It might be a skirmish, pushing and shoving or an all-out brawl.

The last two times the Rams held joint practices with the Las Vegas Raiders, fights interrupted or ended the workouts. Josh McDaniels has replaced Jon Gruden as coach of the Raiders, but workouts Wednesday and Thursday in Thousand Oaks once again could be rife for fighting.

Rams brawling with other teams during joint practices is not exclusive to the Raiders. Since returning to Los Angeles in 2016, the Rams have fought with the Chargers, Dallas Cowboys and Cincinnati Bengals too.

Bengals Alex Cappa (65) and La’el Collins block Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald (99) during a joint practice last year.

(Jeff Dean / Associated Press)

Last year in Cincinnati, Rams star defensive tackle Aaron Donald swung a helmet during a melee. No one was injured, and the team said that Donald was disciplined.

With Rams coach Sean McVay again holding out starters from preseason games, practices with the Raiders, and next week with the Denver Broncos, will provide Donald, quarterback Matthew Stafford and others with opportunities to prepare for the Sept. 10 opener against the Seattle Seahawks.

Star receiver Cooper Kupp, recovering from a hamstring injury, is not expected to practice with the Raiders, McVay said Sunday. It was “probably a more realistic goal” for Kupp to practice against the Broncos.

The practices with the Raiders will offer rookie quarterback Stetson Bennett a chance to show what he learned from his preseason debut Saturday against the Chargers.

Bennett completed 17 of 29 passes for 191 yards and a touchdown in the 34-17 defeat.

“You can’t go from A to Z,” McVay said of preparing Bennett for an anticipated step up in speed if he faces Raiders starters. “The things that we’re talking to Matthew about, that’s not important for Stetson to play at his highest level for where he’s at right now. …

“Things will happen a little bit faster, but I do think one of the things that we liked about this guy that was on display a couple times [against the Chargers] is when the ball is in his hands, he can click through some things quickly.”

Offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur called plays against the Chargers and said Bennett got more comfortable and confident as the game progressed.

“The more he got into the groove the less I was saying,” LaFleur said.

Stafford and Bennett could work against a Raiders secondary that includes former Rams cornerbacks Marcus Peters and David Long Jr.

The Rams defense could face a Raiders offense that features quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and receivers Davante Adams and Hunter Renfrow, though Adams suffered a right leg injury last week during a joint practice with the San Francisco 49ers.

Franchise-tagged running back Josh Jacobs, the league’s leading rusher last season, is in a contract dispute and has not practiced.



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