Record crowd greets Rams back … for a horrible start

The Rams claimed they expected about 90,000 fans (they ended up with 89,140) and that would make it the largest crowd for a preseason game in U.S. history, and that technically appears correct. A crowd of 112,376 attended a preseason game between the Cowboys and Houston Texans in 1994, but that was in Mexico City. There were 105,840 fans on hand for an exhibition game between the Chicago Bears and a college all-star team in 1947, but that’s not an NFL preseason game. So the Rams’ statement holds. The combination of the first game back in L.A., the Cowboys being a marquee opponent and the size of the Coliseum gave the Rams a shot to break the record.

There shouldn’t have been much concern that the Rams would draw a lot of interest right away (and they will again in 2019 when their grand new stadium opens in Inglewood), but still had to be nice for the Rams to see such a huge turnout for a game that didn’t count.

The calm before the storm #DALvsLA
— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) August 13, 2016

The NFL has a long history in Los Angeles, it had just been a while since it could add to it.

The last time NFL football was played in Los Angeles was Dec. 24, 1994. The Rams played the Washington Redskins in Anaheim, while the Raiders took on the Kansas City Chiefs at the Coliseum.

The Rams lost 24-21. Heath Shuler’s third-quarter held up for the Redskins. Chris Miller threw for 303 yards for the Rams in a losing cause. The Raiders lost too, 19-9 against their division rival which started Joe Montana at quarterback. Former Raider Marcus Allen rushed for 132 yards for Kansas City.

It was a long, long awaited return to the Coliseum for the Rams. The Rams played their home games at the Coliseum from 1946 to 1979 before moving to Orange County. As Vincent Bonsignore of the Los Angeles Daily News pointed out, the Rams’ last home game at the Coliseum before Saturday came when Magic Johnson was a rookie for the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Rams got a chance to reacquaint themselves with the old Coliseum after a long, long time away. After more than two decades, the people of Los Angeles finally had a home team to root for again. And look at it this way: It can only go uphill from that terrible start to preseason game No. 1.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — To borrow from Bill Parcells’ famous maxim that you are what your record is, players are what their production is.

Before they have much of an on-field resume, they can also be what their public persona is.

In the case of Tennessee Titans rookie running back Derrick Henry, his preseason debut Saturday night started a shift from persona to production. And that’s a big thing.

The second-round pick out of Alabama regularly smiles and laughs with his teammates. But in front of cameras and notebooks, he’s been regarded as somewhat sour in his first few months with the team, particularly when the line of questioning hasn’t qualified as fawning.

That’s irrelevant if he’s running well, and he ran great against the Chargers in the Titans preseason opener.

“I like him even more now,” Mike Mularkey said when Henry’s public personality is mentioned and how the group of reporters asking the questions might have a big hand in it. “No, we’ve got some quiet guys. Tajae Sharpe doesn’t say a whole lot, Derrick doesn’t say a whole lot, Jack Conklin.

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