Jan 14, 2024; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Los Angeles Rams running back Kyren Williams (23) runs during the second half of a 2024 NFC wild card game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports

Rams RB Kyren Williams had surgery on broken hand

Los Angeles Rams running back Kyren Williams underwent surgery to repair a broken bone in his hand, head coach Sean McVay told reporters Wednesday.

McVay also confirmed reports that tight end Tyler Higbee tore the ACL and MCL in his right knee.

Both players were injured in the Rams’ NFC wild-card loss to the Detroit Lions on Sunday.

Williams, 23, left the game in the fourth quarter after rushing for 61 yards and catching one pass for 9 yards.

On the season, Williams rushed for 1,144 yards and 12 touchdowns in 12 games (11 starts), earning a Pro Bowl nod. He also caught 32 passes for 206 yards and three TDs.

Higbee was hurt on a low hit by Lions safety Kerby Joseph in the second half. McVay said he didn’t have a timeline for Higbee but said he’s a candidate for the physically unable to perform list ahead of next season.

Higbee, 31, caught 47 passes for 495 yards and two touchdowns in 15 starts in his eighth season with the Rams.

McVay also said that the team remains “100 percent” committed to quarterback Matthew Stafford.

“Absolutely. Unequivocally yes.”

McVay also said that his coaching staff will remain intact unless someone leaves for another job.

“If there are changes, it will only be for better opportunities,” he said. “We’ll have the same group back.”

Defensive line coach Eric Henderson is leaving for a job at Southern Cal, and McVay said he’ll wait to replace him until defensive coordinator Raheem Morris’ situation is settled. Morris is interviewing for head coaching jobs.

–Field Level Media

Dec 31, 2023; Landover, Maryland, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy (13) warms up  before the game against the Washington Commanders at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

49ers holding out QB Brock Purdy in finale, Sam Darnold to start

The San Francisco 49ers are holding out quarterback Brock Purdy from Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Rams and will start Sam Darnold in his place.

The 49ers (12-4) have already clinched the top seed and home-field advantage in the NFC and are taking precautions to make sure their starting signal caller is healthy for the postseason.

“Brock is the only (healthy) guy I for sure don’t plan on playing,” San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan said Wednesday.

Brandon Allen will serve as the backup behind Darnold, who will make his 56th career NFL start. Darnold is in his first season with the 49ers after playing three seasons with the New York Jets (2018-20) and two with the Carolina Panthers (2021-22).

Darnold will receive the majority of the practice snaps on Thursday. On Wednesday, Purdy and Darnold split the workload.

“I want our team to treat this week as like Brock going down on the first play of the game,” Shanahan said. “That’s why I want them both repping it. I want Brock to get some work this week, and that’s something I’d like us to be ready for if that unfortunately did happen.”

Purdy has passed for 4,280 yards, 31 touchdowns and 11 interceptions this season.

San Francisco has already ruled out star running back Christian McCaffrey (calf) from Sunday’s game. Others not expected to play include defensive lineman Arik Armstead (foot), cornerback Ambry Thomas (hand) and safety Tashaun Gipson (quadriceps).

The Rams (9-7) are holding out starting quarterback Matthew Stafford from Sunday’s game. Carson Wentz will start for Los Angeles.

–Field Level Media

After years torturing the team as a member of the Ravens, new Cleveland Browns quarterback Joe Flacco could be asked to save their season in L.A. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Browns OC trusts ‘elite’ arm of QB Joe Flacco ready for Rams

Joe Flacco is ready to roll if called upon by the Browns to beat the Rams this week thanks to his “elite” arm strength.

At least that’s the view shared by Cleveland offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt on Thursday with Flacco, 38, taking the majority of the first-team reps at quarterback due to Dorian Thompson-Robinson’s concussion.

“He has an elite arm. There’s no question,” Van Pelt said. “If you put it on a scale of 1-5, he’s a 5. His ball flight, velocity on the ball at every level of the field is impressive.”

A longtime Ravens quarterback and Super Bowl winner, Flacco went 18-3 in his career against the Browns. He’d be the franchise’s 39th different starter since 1999 and fourth this season.

Flacco was 1-8 in nine starts with the New York Jets the past three seasons. He was unsigned since the end of the 2022 season until the Browns rang.

That one win was Week 2 of last season over the Browns. Flacco completed 26 of 44 passes for 307 yards and four touchdowns in a 31-30 win.

If he starts Sunday against the Rams and Matthew Stafford (35), the matchup would pit the two oldest starters going head to head in the NFL this season.

Head coach Kevin Stefanski downplayed the loose wires involved in creating a gameplan for quarterbacks with diametrically opposed styles. Thompson-Robinson is a scrambling speedster with the athleticism of a wide receiver. Flacco is more of a throw-it-through-a-wall kind of quarterback in the mold of traditional pocket passers.

“Big, strong arm,” Stefanski said. “Obviously, he can make every throw, but he’s done a very nice job in the meeting room, getting to know his teammates, getting to know the assistants. He’s done a nice job.”

The Browns, practicing at UCLA this week, will know more by the end of the day when testing concludes for Thompson-Robinson.

–Field Level Media

Nov 5, 2023; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA;  Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford looks on from the sidelines prior to the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Rams QB Matthew Stafford on track to start vs. Seahawks

Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay said quarterback Matthew Stafford is making “great progress” and should start Sunday’s game against the visiting Seattle Seahawks.

Stafford injured the ulnar collateral ligament in his right thumb in a Week 8 game against the Dallas Cowboys and missed the next game prior to last week’s bye. McVay said that Stafford threw the ball during individual drills during Monday’s practice and was able to grip it without trouble.

“We’re operating with the anticipation and expectation that he is going to be good to go,” McVay told reporters on Monday. “He’ll be pushing through, but we expect him to be able to start and play and do his thing and lead the way this week.”

Stafford was injured when his thumb made contact with a helmet while throwing in the 43-20 loss to the Cowboys on Oct. 29.

Stafford, 35, has thrown for 2,070 yards with eight touchdowns and seven interceptions in eight games this season.

Brett Rypien started the 20-3 loss to the Green Bay Packers in Week 9 and was 13 of 28 for 130 yards with an interception and no touchdowns.

The Rams waived Rypien last week and also signed veteran Carson Wentz, who has made 92 career NFL starts.

Wentz was a free agent and McVay saw adding him as a chance to strengthen the team’s quarterback room.

“We feel good about Matthew returning, and obviously when he’s out there, you feel great about the leadership and everything that he provides,” McVay said. “But God forbid if something were to happen where he weren’t available, felt like this would offer an opportunity for somebody that’s played a lot of high level football to get him in here and get him kind of familiar with some of the things that we’re doing.”

Wentz, 30, has passed for 22,129 yards, 151 touchdowns and 66 interceptions in 93 regular-season games with the Philadelphia Eagles (2016-20), Indianapolis Colts (2021) and Washington Commanders (2022). Wentz was released by Washington after last season.

McVay said offensive tackle Rob Havenstein (calf), linebacker Ernest Jones (knee) and nose tackle Bobby Brown III (knee) are also expected to return against the Seahawks.

–Field Level Media

Nov 5, 2023; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA;  Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford looks on from the sidelines prior to the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Rams expect Matthew Stafford back to QB1 following bye

When the Rams return from a brief break for their bye week, the Los Angeles backfield should be close to full strength.

Rams coach Sean McVay said quarterback Matthew Stafford will be ready to return from a thumb injury that forced him to sit out last week’s loss to the Green Bay Packers. Running back Kyren Williams, on injured reserve with a high ankle sprain, is one week behind Stafford and targeting to play Week 12.

“Feel really good about Matthew, and how much he’s attacked doing everything in his power to be back and to lead the way for this team,” McVay said.

The Rams return from this week’s bye to face the Seattle Seahawks on Nov. 19. The Rams defeated Seattle 30-13 in Week 1. Williams is first eligible to return from IR the following week at Arizona. The Rams beat the Cardinals, 26-9, in Week 6.

Williams remains the team’s leading rusher by a considerable margin with 456 yards on 97 carries and six touchdowns. He last played in the Oct. 15 win over the Cardinals and rushed for 158 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries.

Stafford was diagnosed with a UCL sprain in his throwing thumb after making contact with a helmet while throwing in the 43-20 loss to the Cowboys on Oct. 29.

Stafford, 35, has thrown for 2,070 yards with eight touchdowns and seven interceptions in eight games this season.

Backup quarterback Brett Rypien replaced Stafford against the Cowboys after he was injured and completed 5 of 10 passes for 42 yards. He started Sunday’s game against the Packers and was 13 of 28 for 130 yards with an interception and no touchdowns.

–Field Level Media

Aug 26, 2023; Denver, Colorado, USA; Los Angeles Rams quarterback Stetson Bennett (13) warms up before the game against the Denver Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Sean McVay: Rams QB Stetson Bennett facing issue ‘bigger than’ football

Brett Rypien was signed to the 53-man roster of the Los Angeles Rams for their Week 2 game against the San Francisco 49ers and appears to be set for an extended stay as the No. 2 quarterback.

Rypien now is the primary backup to Matthew Stafford and will be active on Sunday for the Rams (1-0), who placed rookie Stetson Bennett on the non-football illness list on Wednesday.

Head coach Sean McVay said the roster move involving Bennett is unrelated to a minor shoulder injury he experienced. McVay said he couldn’t share specifics, but said the issue was “bigger than” football.

“Out of respect for him and the situation, I’m going to leave all the specifics and particulars in-house,” McVay said. “And I want to be able to do that out of respect for that situation, so I’m not going to really have any follow-up information or anything that I’ll give in that regards.

“I really hope that you can please respect my wishes in regards to keeping that in-house. I understand you have a job to do, but there are certain things that I think are a little bigger and a little more important. And out of respect for the particulars and the specifics, we want to keep it in-house, and that’s where I want to leave it please.”

Bennett played well in the preseason. A fourth-round pick, he won back-to-back national championships at Georgia with a record of 29-1 combined in the 2021 and 2022 seasons.

But Bennett, despite being 25, faced questions about his maturity and readiness for the NFL during the pre-draft process following an arrest for public intoxication.

–Field Level Media

Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett (13) throws a pass during the second half of the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl NCAA College Football Playoff semifinal game between Ohio State and Georgia on Saturday, Dec 31, 2022, in Atlanta. Georgia won 42-41.

News Joshua L Jones

Syndication Online Athens

Rams draft ex-Georgia QB Stetson Bennett in fourth round

The Los Angeles Rams selected two-time national champion quarterback Stetson Bennett at No. 128 overall in the fourth round of the NFL draft on Saturday.

Bennett led the Georgia offense in each of the past two seasons, when the Bulldogs went a combined 29-1 and won the 2021 and 2022 College Football Playoff national titles.

Bennett threw for a Georgia record 4,127 yards, 27 touchdowns and seven interceptions in 2022, added 10 rushing touchdowns and finished fourth in Heisman Trophy voting. In four seasons at Georgia, he racked up 8,428 passing yards and 66 touchdowns with 21 interceptions.

Three weeks after the national title game in January, Bennett was arrested in Dallas on charges of public intoxication after residents complained he was banging on front doors in a neighborhood at 6 a.m.

He enters the NFL with some other question marks, too. He is not the ideal height of an NFL quarterback, measuring 5-foot-11 at the scouting combine, and at 25, he will be an older NFL rookie.

Entering the draft, the Rams had only 35-year-old Matthew Stafford on the QB depth chart. Stafford is a fellow former Georgia quarterback.

Stafford is coming off a season-ending injury, a spinal cord contusion that caused him to miss the final seven games, as Los Angeles missed the playoffs one year after winning the Super Bowl.

Bennett was the seventh quarterback selected in the 2023 draft, going one pick after the New Orleans traded up to No. 127 to tab ex-Fresno State quarterback Jake Haener.

The Las Vegas Raiders closed the fourth round by selecting Aidan O’Connell, the starting quarterback at Purdue the past two seasons.

Two more quarterbacks were taken within the first five picks in the fifth round. The Arizona Cardinals grabbed Clayton Tune, who played at Houston, and the Cleveland Browns selected Dorian Thompson-Robinson, who threw for 10,710 yards in five seasons at UCLA.

–Field Level Media

Oct 3, 2022; Santa Clara, California, USA; Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford (left) and head coach Sean McVay talk during warmups before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Rams’ Matthew Stafford won’t retire; Sean McVay faces ‘layers’ to decision

While the Los Angeles Rams’ young head coach mulls whether to step away from the league, quarterback Matthew Stafford said Monday he has no intention to retire this offseason.

Stafford, who will turn 35 next month, is coming off his 14th NFL season, which ended prematurely with a season-ending spinal injury.

Stafford was diagnosed with a spinal cord contusion in addition to a concussion, but it isn’t expected to be a long-term problem for the quarterback that led Los Angeles to last year’s Super Bowl title.

He also told reporters Monday that whether Sean McVay chooses to step down from his post would have no impact on his own decision.

ESPN and The Athletic reported over the weekend that McVay, 36, will take his time deciding whether he wants to return to the Rams in 2023. Los Angeles suffered through an injury-laden title defense and finished 5-12, missing the playoffs.

McVay drew interest from networks eyeing him for a color commentary role last year, when he was coming off his first Super Bowl victory and entertained the possibility that he’d walk away.

“There’s a lot of emotion right after the season,” McVay said. “There’s a lot of layers to this. There’s a lot of people that it does affect that I don’t take lightly and want to be mindful of. And so I’m going to take the next couple days to really be able to kind of reflect.”

McVay also said he doesn’t “get the sense in the least bit I’m done coaching. It’s just a matter of what does that look like as it relates to the immediate future.”

The Rams signed McVay to an extension before the season, making him under contract through the 2026 season. Financial terms were not released by the club at the time, but McVay is reportedly among the highest-paid coaches in the NFL. Stafford also signed an extension through 2026.

McVay is 60-37 with one game left to complete a sixth full season as the Rams’ coach.

–Field Level Media

Head coach Dan Campbell talks with Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff during action against the San Francisco 49ers, Sunday, September 12, 2021 at Ford Field.

Lions 49ers

Reports: Lions lean toward keeping Jared Goff in ’23

When Jared Goff was traded to the Detroit Lions on the first day of the league year in 2021, the widely held belief was the former No. 1 overall pick of the Rams would be looking for a new team in 2023.

According to reports, the Lions haven’t bought into that theory and, in fact, are leaning the opposite direction — toward keeping the 28-year-old Goff for at least the final two years of his contract.

Goff is owed a $5 million roster bonus in March but has a base salary of $20.65 million for 2023. Parting with Goff would cost the Lions more than $10 million.

With only one interception in his past 193 pass attempts covering six games, Goff is driving Detroit’s second-half run. The Lions are favored against the NFC North-leading Minnesota Vikings (10-2) on Sunday.

“Goff is playing at a very high level,” coach Dan Campbell said last month. “He’s certainly given us a chance to win these games. I can’t say enough good things about him. Hhe’s built a camaraderie with these receivers, he trusts them, they’re all on the same page. That goes a long way.”

Goff has the Lions (5-7) thinking playoffs this season in a rapid turnaround marked by a potent offense. Goff has 19 touchdown passes and seven interceptions in 2022.

In his seventh NFL season, Goff has a 50-44-1 record as a starter. He has completed 64.2 percent of his passes for 24,438 yards with 145 touchdowns and 70 interceptions.

The temptation to draft a quarterback of the future didn’t lead general manager Brad Holmes to use the 2022 No. 2 overall pick on a passer. Instead, the Lions drafted defensive end Aidan Hutchinson.

Holmes spent 17 years with the Rams’ organization and was extremely familiar with Goff when he traded for him.

In the latest return from the Rams as part of the Matthew Stafford-Goff swap, the Lions will receive Los Angeles’ first-round pick in the 2023 draft. That selection is likely to bring another top-five pick based on the current standings, and Holmes has two first- and two-second round picks to work with in April.

–Field Level Media

Nov 20, 2022; Baltimore, Maryland, USA;  Carolina Panthers quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) throws against the Baltimore Ravens during the first half at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jessica Rapfogel-USA TODAY Sports

Rams claim QB Baker Mayfield off waivers

Former No. 1 draft pick Baker Mayfield is getting another chance to save his career, this time with the defending Super Bowl champions.

The Los Angeles Rams claimed Mayfield off waivers Tuesday, a day after the Carolina Panthers cut ties with the beleaguered quarterback just five months into their marriage.

The Rams (3-9) lost their sixth straight game Sunday to the Seattle Seahawks, with John Wolford starting under center. Matthew Stafford, who had been diagnosed with a concussion and neck injury a few weeks prior, was revealed after the game to have a spinal contusion that likely ended his season.

The Rams had Wolford and Bryce Perkins as the other quarterbacks on their roster, though Wolford is dealing with a neck injury and was listed as did not participate on Monday’s estimated practice report.

Though their chances of making a late run for a wild-card berth are close to zero, the Rams claimed the 27-year-old Mayfield for the closing stretch and inherited the $1.35 million left on his contract.

The Rams’ move also potentially blocked a quarterback-needy NFC West rival, the division-leading San Francisco 49ers, from being able to claim Mayfield because the Rams were ahead of the 49ers in the waiver order. The 49ers have lost quarterbacks Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo to injuries — though reports came out Tuesday that Garoppolo will not need foot surgery as originally expected and could be back for the playoffs.

ESPN reported that the 49ers did not put in a claim for Mayfield.

Mayfield started six of the seven games he played in this season, completing 57.8 percent of his passes for 1,313 yards and six touchdowns against six interceptions.

He was in his first season in Carolina, which acquired him from the Cleveland Browns in July for a 2024 conditional fifth-round pick. The pick will remain a fifth-rounder since Mayfield didn’t play 70 percent of the team’s snaps at QB.

The Panthers paid $5 million of Mayfield’s fifth-year option while the Browns paid about $10.5 million. Mayfield agreed to cut the remaining $3 million-plus off his fifth-year salary to facilitate the trade.

Mayfield is 30-35 as a starting QB in 65 starts as an NFL quarterback since being selected No. 1 by the Browns in 2018. He’s thrown for 98 TDs and 62 INTs for his career.

ESPN reported that Mayfield is en route to Los Angeles and could play as soon as Thursday, when the Rams visit the Las Vegas Raiders.

–Field Level Media