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Stafford's Understudy: Are Rams Playing With Fire Without Proven Backup QB?

Third-year No. 2 John Wolford hasn't exactly instilled confidence in his brief NFL action.

Quick, name the Los Angeles Rams backup quarterback(s).

Because you (likely) paused, the Rams won the Super Bowl last February. Matthew Stafford had his share of bumps and bruises in 2021, but he started all 21 games - including the win in Super Bowl LVI - and threw 601 of the team's 607 passes.

If everything goes according to plan again in 2022, you won't have to learn about Stafford's backups: John Wolford and Bryce Perkins.

But, what if Stafford - inarguably one of the NFL's best quarterbacks in a variety of situations - suffers an injury? One that sidelines for a series, a half or even multiple games?

Wolford, entering his third NFL season out of Wake Forest, took snaps in three blowout victories over the New York Giants, Houston Texans, and Jacksonville Jaguars. A little alarming is the fact that he threw as many interceptions as completions, one each. In the only regular season start of his career in 2020, the Rams defense scored more touchdowns (1) than Wolford’s offense (0). He finished that game with a completion percentage of 58 percent and an interception.

Not a large sample size to judge, but the small pieces are underwhelming at best. Behind Wolford on the roster at OTAs is Bryce Perkins, who isn't a lock to make the final roster.

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The Rams are loaded at receiver with the return of Cooper Kupp, the arrival of Allen Robinson and the potential re-signing of Odell Beckham Jr. But without their starting quarterback, it's not difficult to envision the offense being grounded.

It raises a serious question: Are the Rams playing with fire by not having an experienced backup behind the 34-year-old Stafford? After battling nagging injuries in 2021, Stafford isn’t throwing in OTAs due to an injection in his throwing arm.

Hopefully him being on the sidelines isn't a a common sight in 2022.

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