Rams QB Stafford back in concussion protocol, out Sunday – KION546

By GREG BEACHAM
AP Sports Writer

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) — Quarterback Matthew Stafford will miss his second game in three weeks for the Los Angeles Rams after going back to the NFL’s concussion protocol.

Sean McVay confirmed that Stafford will sit out when the Rams (3-7) face the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, but the coach said his Super Bowl-winning quarterback doesn’t necessarily have a concussion.

Instead, McVay described Stafford’s injury as a “neck problem.”

The Rams’ season of miserable injury news continued Wednesday with Stafford’s latest setback and the loss of key defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson, who is out this season after tearing the meniscus in his knee.

Stafford left the Rams’ loss in New Orleans early last Sunday when he felt numbness in his legs after a hit in the third quarter. Stafford has been examined by doctors who have not yet determined if he suffered a concussion, but Stafford is still back in protocol because of the way he left the game, McVay said.

“We check all those boxes and go through all of that,” McVay said. “There’s a lot of layers, but you want to make sure you’re doing everything you can to address exactly what went into that feeling, and let the experts have their say, look at the MRI and those scans, and the provide correct information so that we can continue with him.”

Stafford missed the Rams’ loss to Arizona two weeks ago after going into protocol for the first time. The Rams still haven’t confirmed if Stafford also suffered a concussion in that case.

McVay said that Stafford and the Rams have not yet decided whether the quarterback can go on injured reserve or even be out for the season. Los Angeles has just six games left after Sunday and a daunting road to the playoffs.

The Rams aren’t sure who will play quarterback when they face the Chiefs on Sunday.

Third-stringer Bryce Perkins will get the most shots in practice as backup John Wolford has a lingering neck injury that forced him to miss last week’s game in New Orleans. Los Angeles signed quarterback Case Cookus—a Thousand Oaks native who last played in the USFL—to the practice squad for depth.

Stafford is one of the NFL’s most enduring quarterbacks in the past 12 years. He had missed just eight games in that stretch — all in the 2019 season with Detroit due to a back injury — before his absence against the Cardinals.

Robinson was injured against the Saints, and his season-ending injury means he may have played his last moment for the Rams playing free play. Robinson left Detroit to sign with the Rams in 2020, and he played a key role in Los Angeles’ defense as he played in all 21 games on his way to a championship.

Robinson’s absence and the Rams’ decision to waive linebacker Justin Hollins a day early mean LA’s defense will undergo major changes before it tries to stall Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. Defensive linemen Marquise Copeland and Bobby Brown will receive additional playing time in Robinson’s absence, while Hollins’ pass-rushing role will be filled by Terrell Lewis and possibly Michael Hoecht, a 310-pound defensive lineman with athleticism.

McVay said the Rams relinquished Hollins and leading rusher Darrell Henderson to create opportunities for other players in front of two soon-to-be-released agents who are unlikely to return to the team. Henderson was claimed by Jacksonville and Hollins was claimed by Green Bay.

The Rams’ top running backs in Kansas City are Cam Akers and rookie Kyren Williams, who recently returned from an extended injury hiatus. Los Angeles ranks 31st in the NFL’s rushing attack rankings.

Los Angeles’ injury-plagued offensive line continues to struggle for center Brian Allen (thumb) and left tackle Ty Nsekhe (knee), both of whom missed practice on Wednesday. McVay said he is optimistic that Nsekhe – the Rams’ third other left tackle this season – will be able to play on Sunday.

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