The NFL preseason is all about players looking to earn a roster spot. That's exactly the scenario for Bryce Perkins.
The second-year quarterback who went undrafted in 2020 and spent nearly all of last season on the practice squad.could be closing in on the final 53-man roster.
In the preseason opener Saturday night — a 13-6 loss to the crosstown rival Chargers — Perkins looked the part of a capable No. 2. He directed a nine-play, 43-yard touchdown drive on his first series. The march culminated with Perkins' first NFL touchdown pass, a four-yarder to Trishton Jackson.
Even though the Rams and Chargers both played plenty of reserves, the point is to stand out. Perkins did his best to make his mark.
Perkins finished 7-of-10 passing for 42 yards and a touchdown. He also added another 24 yards rushing on four carries. The longest pass of the night came off a 20-yard pass to J.J. Koksi.
The road to the NFL hasn't been easy. Perkins left Arizona State after breaking his neck in 2016. One season after playing at Arizona Western College, he transferred to Virginia.
The Cavaliers — much like the Rams — weren't initially sure what they were getting at QB. What they got was a winner. Virginia won 17 games in two years with Perkins calling the shots, including making their first bowl game since 2005. In 2019 Perkins would lead the Cavaliers to the ACC championship game and an Orange Bowl berth.
Last year without a preseason, Perkins' chance to make the Rams' roster felt limited. After he was cut, the Rams brought him back on the practice squad.
That development paid off Saturday in front of fans for the first time at SoFi Field.
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The Rams rested starting tackles Rob Havenstein and Andrew Whitworth, leaving Perkins more exposed than usual. It didn't seem to faze him. Being able to run — he rushed for a 1,692 yards at Virginia — only increases his roster chances.
The Rams currently have four QBs likely vying for two full-time spots, and perhaps a No. 3 for inactive depth. Matthew Stafford is the clear-cut starter. John Wolford may move down the chart.
Last week, Wolford had to undergo surgery for an emergency appendectomy. He is not expected to play this preseason.
“I don’t anticipate that happening," McVay said. "There’s gonna be a lot of guys that’ll get opportunities, but there’s also gonna be a lot of guys that are not going to be playing in this preseason, so you guys get ready to make sure you’re familiar with all of the guys on our roster."
Newcomer Devlin "Duck" Hodges could be Perkins' biggest competition. Agreeing to terms on a one-year deal, he finished his first game with the term going 11-of-19 passing for 85 yards and an interception.
The Rams won't need to worry about a starter so long as Stafford is healthy. The real question comes with a No. 2 option. Maybe Perkins is not the most conventional option, but the battle for the No. 2 QB spot is open.
And he might have just taken the lead entering Week 3 of training camp.
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