Even in California, when it rains, it POURS. The Los Angeles Rams are in the midst of El Nino. It was announced that Matthew Stafford entered concussion protocol on Tuesday after experiencing symptoms following Sunday’s inexplicable loss to Tampa. Once again, the Rams are faced with an awful injury at the wrong time. Although, given the state of the offensive line, a Stafford injury was inevitable (Thanks Bobby Evans).
So, that leaves the Rams with two options at QB in Sunday’s loser-leaves-town match against Arizona, the current backup John Wolford and the People’s backup Bryce Perkins. Occam’s razor suggests it’ll be The Wolf of Ball Street BUT it’s worth looking at the pros and cons of each because it’s Wednesday and it beats arguing about who should start at guard or if the Rams should FIRE RAHEEM.
Who Will Start in Stafford’s Place?
He is not the most exciting choice but he’s the one with the most experience. He’s 1-0 as a starter and more importantly 1-0 against the Cardinals in a do or die game. It can’t be proven but his performance in that 2021 game against Arizona gave Sean McVay a renewed sense of joy after being visibly burned out on Jared Goff. Tangibly, the stats won’t reflect that but everyone who watched that game can see how that would be true.
Anyway, Wolford’s stats in that game wouldn’t rock anyone’s world as he went 22-38 with 231 and a pick. But, he offered more mobility than Goff and he knew how to be a game manager. That understandably doesn’t inspire a TON of excitement and for what it’s worth he did fine in the first quarter of the playoffs against Seattle until Jamal Adams knocked him out of the game.
He could carry the Rams for one week against the Cardinals especially since the line will be better than Stafford has had all year (Welcome back, Coleman Shelton) so all he has to be is Kmart Stafford which he is fully capable of being.
The Rams are 3-5 and given the state of the NFC have an outside shot at a seven seed (OUTSIDE SHOT) so they probably don’t want to rock the boat too much. This isn’t fun especially with how this offense has been with Stafford (not his fault) so it makes sense why this option leaves many cold.
The populist choice is the Rams should go with Bryce Perkins because he has something Wolford no longer does: That is hypothetical potential. That and he’s way more mobile (plus two inches taller). Wolford is aggressively FINE. He wouldn’t give fans anything new, which considering most are in a self-loathing spiral these days, need something to be EXCITED about.
Perkins is a super mobile quarterback and was fun in the preseason but his true potential remains theoretical. The unknown is super exciting and more to the point allows McVay to be super creative in order to make the most of Perkins strengths and weaknesses.
If Perkins can inject some life into the Rams’ offense (a TALL order) than it also creates a few scenarios that get arm chair coaches and GMs excited. He’s either a budding star and the Rams can find a way to move on from Stafford, have a dirt cheap quarterback and use the money elsewhere. Or, this type of quarterback is what McVay wants next so he convinces Snead to do some Snead stuff and get Lamar Jackson. This is all tin-foil hat RamANON thinking but just know it’s out there.
The Rams clearly see potential in him as they made sure he remained on the roster. It’s understandable if they’re hesitant to start him because the unknown potential can go the other way too. He might be too green and this is another loser-leaves-town match. That’s a lot to gamble on a third-string quarterback.
Still, at a time where a lot of fans are ready to burn “F— DEM PICKS” down for the insurance money because it’s easier than actually trying to solve the Rams’ problems, he offers precious hopium.
Neither option is likely to be the spark that lights the fire of a Rams revival. They have bigger problems beyond Stafford’s health, their line is a tattered gamble every week, the run game has a Mr. Burns’ level heartbeat (Hello, Kyren Williams), and beyond Cooper Kupp, there aren’t any reliable weapons.
On the plus side, the defense is good enough to beat an equally hobbling Cardinals team and while neither Rams quarterback is likely to put the team on their back even for a week, they could force McVay to try new things and see what he has beyond Stafford and Kupp. At this point in the year, it’s not like they could make things much worse.