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Rams guard Logan Bruss learns quickly in preseason debut vs. Chargers

INGLEWOOD — With Tutu Atwell on the sideline, rookie right guard Logan Bruss had most of the attention for the Rams’ opening drive of the preseason.

It wasn’t an ideal time, but Bruss got his welcome-to-the-NFL moment out of the way early after Chargers defensive lineman Morgan Fox tossed him to the ground, leading to quarterback Bryce Perkins being sacked on third-and-7 to end the Rams’ first drive on Saturday night at SoFi Stadium.

Bruss eventually found his footing by creating lanes for running backs Jake Funk, Raymond Calais and A.J. Rose. The Rams had a rugged 13-play, 47-yard touchdown drive with Rose finding the end zone on a spin move to tie the exhibition 7-7 with 7:44 in the second quarter.

Atwell, the Rams’ second-year wide receiver, watched Bruss’ debut from the sideline while holding his helmet. He was supposed to share the spotlight with Bruss as notable Rams players participating in preseason action. Rams coach Sean McVay said earlier in the week that he wanted Atwell’s impressive training camp to transition into the preseason.

Atwell has high expectations as the team’s 2021 second-round pick and garnered more attention after a rocky rookie season that was cut short because of a shoulder injury.

Bruss, the Rams’ first selection of the 2022 draft, continued his trend of learning from his mistakes – the third-round pick received many learning lessons from star defensive lineman Aaron Donald in training camp. There’s no shame in losing reps to the best defender in the NFL, and the same can be said about Bruss’ error against Fox, a former Rams lineman with 69 games of experience.

The Chargers had plenty of experience on their defensive line with Fox, Jerry Tillery and Chris Rumph II. The Rams’ starting offensive line consisted of left tackle AJ Jackson, left guard Tremayne Anchrum, center Jeremiah Kolone, Bruss and right tackle Bobby Evans.

Bruss is competing with Coleman Shelton for the starting right guard job, but Shelton was the clear frontrunner after the Rams ended their training camp in Irvine this week.

“I want to watch these guys succeed,” Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford said during an in-game TV interview. “Just excited to watch these guys compete.”

Perkins received the start at quarterback with Stafford and backup John Wolford getting the night off. Perkins had a handful of highlight plays in the first half, including a 60-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Lance McCutcheon, who made an acrobatic grab before breaking two tackles. The Rams and Chargers were tied 14-14 at halftime.

Perkins also started the second half and recorded a 1-yard touchdown run to give the Rams a 22-14 advantage with 8:17 in the third quarter.

The Rams had more reasons to sit Wolford this preseason with Stafford dealing with arm soreness, which generated plenty of headlines throughout training camp. Stafford told the TV broadcast that his throwing arm felt fine after concluding camp.

“There’s definitely a bunch of time between now and then,” Stafford said about being ready for the Sept. 8 season opener against the Buffalo Bills. “I got no doubt we’ll get there and it’s always a work in progress.”

The defending Super Bowl champions aren’t worried about their starting quarterback. Saturday night was about their rookies and unproven players.

Second-year player Robert Rochell and rookies Derion Kendrick and Decobie Durant formed the Rams’ starting cornerbacks group, with Durant patrolling from the slot.

Bruss, who only played in the first half, had his ups and downs, but his trait of being a quick learner could pay off in the regular season.

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