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Bryce Perkins shows off his skills: Takeaways from Rams’ preseason win over Chargers

Rams quarterback Bryce Perkins scrambles past Chargers linebacker Jamal Davis II.
Rams quarterback Bryce Perkins scrambles past Chargers linebacker Jamal Davis II during the second quarter Saturday of the Rams’ 29-22 preseason win.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
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The defending Super Bowl champion Rams opened the preseason against the Chargers on Saturday night at SoFi Stadium. Here are observations from the Rams’ 29-22 victory:

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Quarterback Bryce Perkins off to a good start

Rams quarterback Bryce Perkins stiff arms Chargers linebacker Troy Reeder during the second quarter Saturday.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Perkins completed 10 of 17 passes for 133 yards and two touchdowns, and he rushed for 39 yards and a touchdown in eight carries.

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He showed his running ability and toughness when he broke four tackles on a scramble for a first down.

It was good start for a player making a bid for a start-of-season roster spot for the second season in a row.

Matthew Stafford’s sore elbow means more reps in Rams practice for backups John Wolford and Bryce Perkins. What impact is it having in the QB room?

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Receiver Tutu Atwell remained on the sideline

Rams wide receiver TuTu Atwell participates in practice drills on Aug. 6.
(Ashley Landis / Associated Press)

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Atwell, a second-year pro trying to put a disappointing rookie season behind him, was the talk of Rams training camp.

He made impressive catches nearly every workout and earned praise from coach Sean McVay, who said Atwell would play during preseason games.

But the 5-foot-9, 165-pound Atwell never left the sideline against the Chargers.

“He’s done a great job throughout camp,” McVay said. “He’s going to have a role with this team, and we didn’t want to put him at harm’s risk. He’s going to be a part of what we’re doing this year.”

Atwell and second-year pro Ben Skowronek will be counted on if starting receiver Van Jefferson does not recover from knee surgery in time for the Sept. 8 opener against the Buffalo Bills.

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Chase Daniel threw two first-half touchdown passes for the Chargers in their 29-22 preseason loss to the Rams. Edge rusher Chris Rumph II also impressed.

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Offensive coordinator Liam Coen called plays

Rams offensive coordinator Liam Coen throws a ball at the team's practice facility in May.
(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

McVay said he affords assistants preseason play-calling opportunities because he benefited from the experience when he was an assistant in Washington. Former Commanders coach Jay Gruden let McVay call plays during the preseason.

“Jay Gruden comes up to me before one of our preseason games and says, ‘Do you want to call it?’” McVay said last week. “And I say, ‘Yeah, heck yeah.’… It’s in a good setting where we’re not really trying to game plan, but you’re getting the experience of using the headset, communicating in the 42-second play clock, making calls that are reactive defensively.”

Defensive backs coach Chris Shula and defensive line coach Eric Henderson called the defense.

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Ask the L.A. Times’ football team your questions about Los Angeles’ local teams and we will try to answer them.

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Receiver Lance McCutcheon could be a player to watch

Rams wide receiver Lance McCutcheon catches a touchdown pass over Chargers cornerback Brandon Sebastian on Saturday.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

The 6-3, 202-pound McCutcheon signed with the Rams as an undrafted free agent from Montana State.

McCutcheon impressed coaches during offseason workouts, and he made a huge play against the Chargers.

In the second quarter, McCutcheon ran a route along the left sideline and out-muscled two defenders for a pass before running about 30 yards for a 60-yard scoring play.

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He finished with five receptions for 87 yards, and also caught a two-point conversion pass.

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Bobby Brown III capitalizing on opportunity

Rams defensive tackle Bobby Brown III celebrates after sacking Chargers quarterback Chase Daniel.
Rams defensive tackle Bobby Brown III celebrates after sacking Chargers quarterback Chase Daniel during the first half Saturday.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

Brown, a fourth-round draft pick in 2021, is suspended for the first six games because he violated the NFL performance-enhancing substance policy.

But he is eligible to play in preseason games.

Brown started against the Chargers and had a sack and two tackles before leaving the game with an injury. McVay said he thinks Brown will be OK, but he will undergo further evaluation.

The Rams are strong at tackle with three-time NFL defensive player of the year Aaron Donald, Greg Gaines and A’Shawn Robinson. If Brown matures, he could give defensive coordinator Raheem Morris added depth.

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Rams coach Sean McVay, who guided the Rams to a Super Bowl title, said Tuesday that he has a new contract.

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Alaric Jackson in line to be a swing tackle

Rams offensive tackle Alaric Jackson waits to enter the field during a 2021 preseason game against the Chargers.
(Alex Gallardo / Associated Press)

With Andrew Whitworth retired and gone to the broadcast booth, the Rams gave Joe Noteboom a three-year extension that includes $25 million in guarantees.

But who backs up Noteboom at left tackle?

It might be the 6-7, 285-pound Jackson, a second-year pro who signed with the Rams last year as an undrafted free agent from Iowa.

If Jackson continues to develop, he could serve as a valuable swing tackle behind Noteboom and right tackle Rob Havenstein.

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Rookie Logan Bruss started at right guard

Rams guard Logan Bruss runs a play during a practice session on July 30.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

The Rams are in no hurry to rush Bruss into the lineup during the regular season, but Saturday night’s work served as a step in that direction.

Bruss played in the first half and helped the Rams rush for 67 yards and pass for 73.

Coleman Shelton is the front-runner to start at right guard against the Bills. But Shelton’s ability to play three interior line positions makes him a valuable commodity as a backup when the Rams deem Bruss ready to start.

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Rookie running back Kyren Williams did not play

Rams running back Kyren Williams, right, gets a hand off from quarterback Matthew Stafford during practice in May.
(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

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Williams, a fifth-round draft pick from Notre Dame, suffered a broken foot during offseason workouts and did not come off the physically unable to perform list until near the end of training camp.

Williams went through team drills last week, but the training staff is proceeding with caution with a player who could provide depth behind Cam Akers and Darrell Henderson.

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Rams feel at home as visitors at SoFi Stadium

The Rams and Chargers opened the preseason Saturday at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

The Rams were the visiting team, and they will be the visitors when they play the Chargers on New Year’s Day.

The Rams were the visiting team in a Super Bowl LVI win over Cincinnati.

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