The Los Angeles Rams will try to get off to their first 2-0 start since 2001 when they play host to the Washington Redskins Sunday at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
The game matches Rams coach Sean McVay against the team that employed him from 2010-16, including as offensive coordinator from 2014-16. McVay also worked with Washington coach Jay Gruden on the coaching staffs of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2008 and the Florida Tuskers of the short-lived United Football League in 2009.
“Jay’s a guy (that’s) been so good to me,” said McVay, who guided the Rams to a 46-9 victory over the Indianapolis Colts last Sunday in his debut as an NFL coach. “I’m looking forward to seeing a handful of guys. We’ll have our conversations and then we’ll go play a football game and then we’ll shake hands and it will be like anything else.”
Three-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Aaron Donald will make his 2017 debut with the Rams after missing training camp as he sought a contract extension. Donald reported to the team’s training facility Sept. 9, but did not play against the Colts.
Donald will start but McVay did not say how much he would play.
“He came in in good shape, he’s looked good, looks fresh, looks like the Aaron Donald that you guys are accustomed to seeing,” McVay said Friday in his final meeting with reporters before the game.
“He was doing everything that he could while not being here to make sure that when this opportunity presented itself, he would be ready to go and help his teammates out and try to be a positive thing that helps us win football games.”
Washington opened the season with a 30-17 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles last Sunday and is trying to avoid its second consecutive 0-2 start.
The game will include a celebration of the return of the Olympics to Los Angeles.
International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach will light the Coliseum’s cauldron, joined by Mayor Eric Garcetti, Casey Wasserman, chair of LA 2028, the Games’ bid committee, Olympic gold medalist Rafer Johnson, and IOC board members Larry Probst, Anita De Frantz and Angela Ruggiero.
Johnson lit the Coliseum cauldron during the opening ceremony of the 1984 Olympics.
Olympic gold medalists Lisa Fernandez (softball), Paul Gonzales (boxing) and Paralympian Alma Rodriguez (basketball) will participate in the coin toss.
Ron Brown, a member of the gold medal-winning U.S. men’s 400 meter relay team who was a Rams receiver from 1984-89 and in 1991, will be honored during the game.
The game is the Rams Hispanic Heritage Game.
The national anthem will be sung by Jackie Cruz, who plays Marisol “Flaca” Gonzales on the Netflix women’s prison drama “Orange Is the New Black.”
The drumline, marching band and drill team from the Santee Educational Complex in South Los Angeles will perform at midfield during halftime. The band will perform the “Marcha De Zacatecas,” a Mexican patriotic song. A ballet foklorico dance group in its traditional costumes will perform to accompany the band.
Fidel Vargas, president and CEO of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, will receive the Hispanic Heritage Leadership Award prior to kickoff. The fund will receive a $2,000 donation in connection with the award.
Five thousand towels and 4,000 temporary tattoos embodying the artwork of graffiti and tattoo artist Mister Cartoon will be given to fans visiting the Corona Beach House.
Kristy Sandoval will begin painting a mural in the Corona Beach House at 10 a.m.
Retired Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Octavio Sanchez, an Iraq War veteran, will be honored during the game. Sanchez is now an ambassador for UCLA’s Operation Mend, which provides charitable medical services to wounded service members and their families.