The Los Angeles Rams will open the second preseason of their second stint in Southern California Saturday against the Dallas Cowboys following changes to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, their roster and coaching staff.
A capacity crowd of about 70,000 is expected, a team official told City News Service. The Rams reduced the stadium’s capacity in an effort to enhance the gameday experience, the official said.
There were 89,140 tickets distributed, the most for a preseason game in the United States, according to the NFL, when the Rams faced the Cowboys to open preseason play in 2016 in the first NFL game in the Coliseum since 1994.
The league does not announce the actual attendance figure.
Other changes made in an attempt to improve the fan experience at the Coliseum include:
— Doubling the number of in-seat vendors offering non-alcoholic beverages and food in the seating bowl;
— Installing vending machines throughout the stadium;
— Adding water switches to concession stand fountain soda machines;
— Adding refrigerators for water at merchandise locations; and
— Establishing additional storage areas to make restocking water and other items easier.
Additions to the Food Court between Gates 11 and 14 include:
— 225 Smokehouse, which offers smoked meats such as a Carolina pulled pork sandwich, Lone Star brisket sandwich and an artisan bratwurst;
— Loaded Fries, whose menu consists of french fries topped by smoked meat, including marinated steak, slow-smoked pork and slow-roasted kalua pork;
— Calle de Tacos, where street tacos, chicken flautas, bacon-wrapped hot dog and other Mexican street food traditions are available; and
— Island Style, which offers Hawaiian-inspired food, including Kalua port bowls, aloha poke bowls and musabi, glazed spam and seasoned rice served in nori.
A new Rams Kids Meal which includes a hot dog, water and apples, is available for $10.
Craft beers will be available at Taste of California Craft Beer in the peristyle area near the east end zone.
There will be new video boards in the east end zone corners, replacing the boards that sat atop the peristyle.
Rams Have 43 Newcomers on Roster
As they seek to improve from a 4-12 record in 2016, the Rams have 43 newcomers on their 90-player roster, including 27 rookies, most of whom aren’t expected to be part of the 53-player active roster when the team opens the regular season Sept. 10 against the Indianapolis Colts.
Key off-season acquisitions include offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth, a three-time Pro Bowl selection, and center John Sullivan.
The team’s newest acquisition, receiver Sammy Watkins, won’t play Saturday evening, coach Sean McVay said. Watkins, the fourth player selected in the 2014 NFL draft, was obtained Friday in a trade with the Buffalo Bills.
McVay is among the 20 new members on the Rams 23-man coaching staff. He will be making his head coaching debut Saturday evening. The 31-year-old McVay is the youngest coach in the modern history of the NFL.
Sean McVay said he would like second-year quarterback Jared Goff and “some of those core guys” to play “anywhere between six to 10 plays.”