Matthew Stafford Expected To Miss Week 10

NOVEMBER 12: ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reports that Stafford will indeed miss out on tomorrow’s game, barring a “drastic change” (Twitter link). That will leave Wolford in line for his third career start.

NOVEMBER 9: The Rams have lost four of their past five games and have seen their offense crater from its 2021 form. The defending Super Bowl champions now face the prospect of their starting quarterback being unavailable.

Sean McVay said Wednesday that Matthew Stafford is in the team’s concussion protocol. The 34-year-old quarterback entered the protocol Tuesday, Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic tweets. It is believed Stafford sustained the concussion against the Buccaneers on Sunday, but the Rams noticed symptoms during standard checks with the 14th-year veteran Tuesday (Twitter link).

With the protocol having been enhanced this season, a scenario in which the Rams play without him in Week 10 is certainly on the table. Stafford has not missed a game since joining the Rams and has only missed games in one of the past 12 seasons (2019). The Rams (3-5) host the Cardinals (3-6) on Sunday.

Rams backup John Wolford has been with the team since 2019, when the Rams signed him after a stay in the Alliance of American Football. Wolford started in place of Jared Goff late during the 2020 season, replacing the longtime starter for Los Angeles’ regular-season finale and in the team’s wild-card playoff game against the Seahawks. A Goff hand injury led to Wolford starting in Seattle, but Wolford suffered a subsequent injury that summoned Goff back into action. Between the regular season and playoffs, Wolford has thrown 48 career passes.

The league’s revised protocol, put in place earlier this season following Tua Tagovailoa‘s controversial re-entry into the Dolphins’ Week 3 game after he showed concussion symptoms, added ataxia — defined as an “abnormality of balance/stability, motor coordination or dysfunctional speech caused by a neurological issue” — to the list of mandatory no-go symptoms. The changes to the protocol have led to more players, including Dolphins backup QB Teddy Bridgewater, being ruled out of games due to head injuries.

Following his removal from a game due to ataxia, Bridgewater cleared the protocol six days after his removal from a Dolphins-Jets game. The Dolphins still started third-stringer Skylar Thompson in their matchup with the Vikings, but Bridgewater replaced the rookie after an early-game injury. The steps back to action for players remain more complicated compared to the protocol’s previous seasons, providing another hiccup for a Rams team that has traversed a bumpy title-defense season.

Stafford dealt with an elbow issue throughout the offseason and has been sacked 28 times. He was only dropped 30 times during the entire 2021 season. Only Justin Fields (33) and Joe Burrow (30) have been sacked more than Stafford, who took four against the Buccaneers. Offensive line issues have led to Stafford’s sack spike. The Rams have dealt with injuries everywhere but right tackle up front and have seen second-string blockers go down as well. This has hindered McVay’s offense, which ranks 31st in scoring entering Week 10. None of McVay’s first five Rams offenses have ranked worse than 11th.

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