Good evening. After Leonard Floyd’s stomach issues that required a hospital visit for the edge rusher on Friday, he apparently is good to go for Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals.
That’s good news for the Los Angeles Rams, who already will be undermanned this weekend, with quarterback Jared Goff, receiver Cooper Kupp and running Darrell Henderson Jr. among the players who will not be available against the Cardinals.
That said, let’s get your questions.
Eric_d_williams: Sean McVay choosing to sling it all over the yard would be somewhat of a surprise, considering he’s calling plays for a quarterback that has never taken an NFL snap in the regular season, with a playoff berth on the line.
According to Next Gen Stats, the Rams ran the ball about 43.5 percent of the time this season, that’s No. 11 in the league.
Against the Cardinals in Week 13, Goff threw it 47 times, completed a season-high 78.7 percent of his passes for 351 passing yards in a 38-28 win at Arizona
But with John Wolford making his first start, I would expect the Rams to lean on the running game a bit more and to perhaps use Wolford on called runs outside the pocket to create some chunk plays.
Wolford threw the ball on average about 26 times a game in the Alliance of American Football that last time he served as full-time starter in 2019. I would expect the Rams to land at about that amount -- unless they have to play from behind.
Eric_d_williams: That’s a great question. McVay seems to have full confidence in Wolford’s ability to run the offense.
So I would imagine preparation this week for the Rams and offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell was more about scheming plays within the offense that fit Wolford’s skillset and can best take advantage of the perceived weaknesses in Arizona’s defense.
Bottom line is I don’t think Wolford will limit McVay’s ability to get to what he wants to run on the play sheet. From everyone I’ve talked to this week, Wolford is super smart, a quick study and able to adjust on a moment’s notice.
“His athleticism is definitely a trait that’s helpful,” McVay said. “And it’s not even necessarily, it’s more some of the stuff that can come alive outside the framework of a play. Those are things that I think you see different guys do.
“You’ve got to kind of just let the game come to you, operate accordingly and then pick and choose your spots and be decisive. That’s something that he’s always done a nice job of when I’ve been around him is being decisive, trusting what he’s seeing. Whether that’s letting things go or whether that’s taking off. It’ll be something that I’ll be interested to see how the game unfolds.”
Eric_d_williams: I believe so. It’s why I predicted a 27-23 victory for the Rams.
Certainly, a lot of things have to go right for L.A. to earn the win. The defense has to shoulder the load in this game, keeping Arizona QB Kyler Murray under control and stealing a possession or two by forcing some turnovers.
And the Rams can’t have some of the mental lapses that have occurred this season on special teams Sunday.
But it will come down to Wolford playing a clean game and making a handful of plays in got-to-have-it moments on third down, in the red zone and at the end of the game. If Wolford plays composed, gets the Rams in the end zone a few times and takes care of the football, the Rams should have enough on offense and defense to win the game.