City News Service

Rams Look to Change Fortunes in Home Opener Against Colts

The Rams have lost two of their last three openers, including a 28-0 loss to the San Francisco 49ers last season.

The Los Angeles Rams will open their second season of their second stay in Southern California on Sunday with changes to their coaching staff, roster and helmet after going 4-12 in 2016.

Sean McVay will be making his NFL head coaching debut in the game against the Indianapolis Colts at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, part of a 23-man coaching staff that includes 20 newcomers. The 31-year-old McVay is the youngest head coach in modern NFL history.

McVay has eight years of NFL coaching experience, including serving as the Washington Redskins offensive coordinator from 2014-16.

The Rams' 53-man roster includes 23 newcomers -- seven players signed as veteran free agents, two acquired in trades, five claimed on waivers and nine rookies, seven draft choices and two undrafted free agents, former USC running back Justin Davis and cornerback Dominique Hatfield, a Utah alumnus.

The Los Angeles Rams have returned to wearing blue helmets with white horns, similar to what they wore from 1964-72. They wore blue helmets with white horns from 2000-16. The first 50,000 fans in attendance will receive a T- shirt featuring the helmet.

Both teams will be without standout performers.

Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald reported to team's training facility at California Lutheran University Saturday after missing all of training camp as he sought a contract extension, but will not play against the Colts. Tanzel Smart, chosen in the sixth round of the 2017 NFL draft out of Tulane, is expected to start in place of Donald, a Pro Bowl selection in each of his first three seasons.

Colts quarterback Andrew Luck will miss the game as he continues to recover from surgery on his right shoulder performed in January. Scott Tolzien will start in his place, making the fourth start of his seven-season NFL career. Tolzien started for Wisconsin in its 21-19 loss to Texas Christian in the 2011 Rose Bowl Game, completing 12 of 21 passes for 159 yards.

The Rams have lost two of their last three openers, including a 28-0 loss to the San Francisco 49ers last season.

The game is the Colts' first in Los Angeles since Sept. 15, 1991 when they lost to the Raiders, 16-0, at the Coliseum.

For the second consecutive year, the Rams will honor Pro Football Hall of Famers at their season opener. Eric Dickerson, Marshall Faulk, Tom Mack, Orlando Pace, Jackie Slater, Aenas Williams and Jack Youngblood will participate in the coin toss. Kurt Warner, a member of the hall's Class of 2017, will help light the torch in the Peristyle end of the Coliseum.

All eight Hall of Famers will take to the field at halftime through a tunnel of season ticket holder and will be honored on the 50-yard line.

The Rams announced on Aug. 31 that fans purchasing tickets for the game at and entering the code BROCKERS could have the Rams' full proceeds from the sale donated to the American Red Cross and United Way of Greater Houston.

The Rams also auctioned two opportunities to attend the game with proceeds going to the American Red Cross.

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