Rams Rumors

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/12/19

Here are Saturday’s minor moves:

Atlanta Falcons

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

  • Promoted from practice squad: CB Nik Needham
  • Waived: S Doug Middleton

Minnesota Vikings

  • Promoted from practice squad: LB Cameron Smith
  • Waived: WR Davion Davis

New York Giants 

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Rams Rule Out Todd Gurley For Week 6

Todd Gurley‘s quadriceps issue will keep him out of the Rams’ Week 6 game against the 49ers, Lindsey Thiry of ESPN.com tweets. The team previously listed the All-Pro running back as doubtful.

This will keep a key Rams weapon off the field for a pivotal NFC West matchup. Gurley had played in each of the Rams’ five games, and although his usage rate and yardage numbers are down, the two-time first-team All-Pro had scored five touchdowns.

Malcolm Brown stands to start for Los Angeles in its home tilt, with rookie Darrell Henderson seeing additional time. Henderson has only played two offensive snaps this season, receiving one carry. The Rams matched the Lions’ RFA offer sheet submitted to Brown this offseason and have given him 26 carries through five games. While Brown’s operated as Gurley’s backup, he has a team-high (among running backs) 4.4 yards-per-carry average and two TDs.

Gurley’s knee resided as one of this year’s top talking points. That issue may or may not be impacting the fifth-year running back’s workload, but it’s a thigh contusion that has interrupted Gurley’s 2019 instead.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Todd Gurley Unlikely To Face 49ers

The Rams’ latest key NFC West matchup will likely unfold without Todd Gurley. The quadriceps injury the All-Pro back has encountered will bring a doubtful designation, Lindsey Thiry of ESPN.com tweets.

Gurley has not missed a game since December of 2018, but instead of the problematic knee issue the two-time first-team All-Pro and the Rams spent the offseason addressing cryptically, it will be a quad malady that has him on the verge of sitting out Sunday’s game against the unbeaten 49ers.

Malcolm Brown will be set to start in Gurley’s place, with third-round rookie Darrell Henderson mixing in. The Rams have also declared Aqib Talib out for Week 6. The Rams have used Brown sparingly this season, giving Gurley 64 carries to Brown’s 26. Brown has also caught just one pass compared to Gurley’s 14. Neither have been particularly effective pass catchers this season, and Gurley is well off his recent prolific paces. Brown is averaging 4.4 yards per carry, however.

A first-team All-Pro in 2017 and ’18, Gurley is averaging 4.2 yards per carry behind Los Angeles’ remade offensive line. His 338 scrimmage yards are noticeably behind the prodigious paces he set in his age-22 and age-23 seasons, which ended in 2,093- and 1,831-yard totals. Now, this quadriceps issue becomes a concern — as do the Rams’ chances of dropping to .500.

A rib injury will sideline Talib, who has been less available in L.A. compared to his Denver days. Talib missed eight games last season, landing on IR for half of it.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Todd Gurley Iffy For Week 6

Todd Gurley has made it through five games without a knee-related absence this season, which could be considered a victory based on the suspicion surrounding the Rams running back this offseason. But the two-time first-team All-Pro has encountered a quadriceps issue and is “up in the air” for Week 6, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). The Rams initially viewed this as a minor malady, but Gurley is not a lock to suit up against the 49ers. The fifth-year running back has been productive but a cut off his All-Pro form this season. He has yet to post a 100-yard rushing game and, with 338 scrimmage yards, is well off the pace of his past two slates. It would not surprise if the Rams exercised caution here and turned their Week 6 backfield reins over to Malcolm Brown.

  • An unorthodox Trent Williams destination: the NFC’s Los Angeles team. While other teams have much bigger offensive line needs, Sean McVay coached Williams in Washington. The Redskins also moved the longtime left tackle to guard for a 2018 game. That would be where Williams would play if the Rams traded for him, with Andrew Whitworth and Rob Havenstein entrenched at tackle. The Rams remain confident in left guard Joseph Noteboom, but Vincent Bonsignore of The Athletic notes (subscription required) the team desires immediate improvement up front. PFF grades Noteboom as its fifth-worst full-time guard.

Rams' Clay Matthews To Return Week 10?

There’s still no official word on when Rams outside linebacker Clay Matthews will return to action, but a realistic return date for him would be after the team’s bye week, head coach Sean McVay told reporters. That would line the veteran up for a Week 10 return on Nov. 10 against the Steelers, restoring one of the Rams’ defensive stars for a second-half push.

While Matthews’ busted jaw heals up, the Rams will face the 49ers in an intrastate matchup on Sunday.

Cooks In Concussion Protocol

  • The Rams dropped their second straight game on Thursday to fall to 3-2, and now a key player is banged up. Receiver Brandin Cooks was placed in the concussion protocol following the team’s loss to Seattle, head coach Sean McVay said Friday. McVay said Cooks was asymptomatic as of yesterday, but it’s still concerning given Cooks’ history with concussions. Thankfully for the Rams he has a few extra days to get cleared since they played a Thursday night game, but this is still a situation worth monitoring. Los Angeles relies on Cooks to stretch defenses vertically, and him missing anytime is the last thing a suddenly struggling Rams team needs.

Rams’ Clay Matthews Suffers Broken Jaw

Rams linebacker Clay Matthews suffered a broken jaw last night against the Seahawks, head coach Sean McVay told reporters. He’ll miss 4-6 weeks of action, leaving L.A. without one of its defensive stars. 

[RELATED: Rams Sign Jachai Polite To Practice Squad]

Matthews, 33, was bumped by younger players in Green Bay, but the Rams happily scooped him up with a two-year deal worth up to $16.75MM. Through five games this year, Matthews has rewarded their confidence with six sacks, including one takedown against Seattle.

It’s an undoubtedly frustrating situation for Matthews, who has been largely durable throughout his eleven-year NFL career. That’s part of what helped Matthews earned six Pro Bowl nods through his ten seasons in Green Bay and he seemed on pace for a seventh before this setback.

The Rams, at minimum, will be without Matthews for games against the 49ers, Falcons, and Bengals. After that, they have a bye week, so Matthews could theoretically return for Week 10 and miss only three games. If his estimated worst case scenario is accurate – and if he’s not placed on IR – Matthews should be back no later than the team’s Week 12 game against the Ravens.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Jaguars’ Jalen Ramsey

Jaguars star Jalen Ramsey will not practice on Wednesday, per the club’s daily blast. Ramsey is listed as unable to participate with a back injury, though many have been suspicious about his continued absence. 

Ramsey wants out of Jacksonville, and the Jaguars seem poised to trade him, but the club’s asking price seems to be a barrier to a deal. At the outset, they started the bidding at two first-round picks. Recently, a contending team offered two first-round choices, but the Jaguars turned down the deal with the belief that those picks would likely fall at the end of the draft.

Nearly every team in the league seems to be interested in Ramsey, but Peter King of NBC Sports recently speculated that the Chiefs and Ravens rank high on that list. He also believes the Chargers could join the fray.

For any club, Ramsey would mark a massive upgrade for today and become a huge cornerstone for seasons to come. The appeal is obvious – he’s one of the very best corners in the game and won’t turn 25 until later this month. On the flipside, acquiring Ramsey would mean giving the young star a top-of-the-market deal that is commensurate with his ability, so the notion of sacrificing two first-round picks for him is unpalatable to most franchises.

In related news, quarterback Gardner Minshew was added to the injury report with a knee ailment, but that issue is believed to be minor. Right now, it sounds like he’ll be available to face the Panthers this weekend.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Injury Roundup: Hilton, Lions, Bolts, Rams

It’s looking like the Colts‘ passing attack will have to operate without its top weapon Sunday. T.Y. Hilton drew a doubtful designation on Indianapolis’ Friday injury report. He did not practice all week. The eighth-year wideout left the Colts’ Week 3 win with a quadriceps injury, and although the Raiders enter Week 4 ranked 30th in pass defense DVOA, the Colts went 0-2 without Hilton last season. They are already down previous starter Devin Funchess, who sits on IR. The Colts also ruled Darius Leonard out for a second straight week. The All-Pro linebacker remains in concussion protocol.

Here is the latest from the Week 4 injury front:

  • Matthew Stafford popped up on the Lions‘ injury report Friday; he’s listed as questionable with a hip malady. While Stafford should be expected to play, given that he’s played through injuries in recent years and holds the league’s third-longest active start streak among QBs with 131, this is a less-than-ideal scenario going into a key inter-conference matchup with the Chiefs. Rookie UDFA David Blough has been Stafford’s backup this season, though Jeff Driskel is now on Detroit’s 53-man roster.
  • That matchup will not include Chiefs starting running back Damien Williams, who will miss a second straight game with a knee ailment. LeSean McCoy put together two full practices this week and will likely team up with Darrel Williams, as he did last week, in Detroit.
  • Good news for the Rams‘ offense. Sean McVay said both Austin Blythe and Tyler Higbee will be available against the Buccaneers on Sunday, per Lindsey Thiry of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Blythe missed Los Angeles’ Week 3 game with a sprained ankle, while Higbee has been sidelined with a lung contusion.
  • Another Chargers game will unfold without their primary kicker option. The Bolts ruled out Michael Badgley for a fourth straight contest. Punter Ty Long‘s multipurpose afternoons will continue. Long made both of his field goal tries last week after missing two in Week 2.
  • Additionally for the Bolts, they will be without Mike Williams. He’s been declared out with a back injury. Travis Benjamin will head to Miami as doubtful to play, meaning Dontrelle Inman and Geremy Davis stand as the Chargers’ only two healthy auxiliary wideouts. This marks Williams’ second injury of the season. A knee problem plagued the third-year target earlier this month but did not force him to miss any time.
  • The Vikings‘ No. 2-ranked rushing attack will be tested in Chicago this week, and right guard starter Josh Kline will not play a part in the NFC North contest. The free agent acquisition will miss Sunday’s game with a concussion that kept him out of practice this week. This will end Kline’s 49-start streak. Veteran Dakota Dozier will start, per Mark Craig of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Dozier has started eight games in his six-season career, which included a Week 2 start in place of Pat Elflein.

Rams Sign Jachai Polite To Practice Squad

The Rams have signed linebacker Jachai Polite to the practice squad, per a club announcement. This marks the third deal of Polite’s career, even though he was a 2019 third-round pick of the Jets. 

[RELATED: Rams To Extend Johnny Hekker]

The Jets shocked the world when they cut Polite this summer, but he has done little to prove his critics in New York wrong. He went unclaimed on waivers and did not land a 53-man roster deal after his release. Instead, he hooked on with the Seahawks’ taxi squad and lasted all of three weeks. Now, he’ll try his hand with another NFC West club.

If all goes well for Polite, he could have an opportunity to face one of his former clubs when the Rams play the Seahawks on Oct. 3. In the meantime, the players on the Rams’ 46-man active roster will be tasked with the Bucs this weekend.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.