Rams Rumors

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/24/20

We’ll keep track of today’s minor moves here:

Arizona Cardinals

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Denver Broncos

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Rams

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: TE Vance McDonald
  • Promoted: TE Kevin Rader

Tennessee Titans

The Jets’ addition of Adams makes a lot of sense after rookie running back La’Mical Perine suffered a high ankle sprain that is expected to sideline him for at least a couple games. A 2018 UDFA out of Notre Dame, Adams played a significant role with the Eagles as a rookie, when he started five of 14 games and carries the ball 120 times for 511 yards and three touchdowns. Despite the reasonably productive first season, he was waived at final cuts last year.

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/23/20

Today’s minor moves:

Houston Texans

Los Angeles Rams

Pittsburgh Steelers

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/21/20

Here is Saturday’s usual flood of minor moves:

Atlanta Falcons

Carolina Panthers

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Indianapolis Colts

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

Washington Football Team

Poll: Who Will Win NFC West?

Exiting the NFL’s midway point, the NFC West serves as arguably the league’s most compelling division. Although injuries have made the 49ers’ road back to the playoffs exceedingly difficult, the division’s other three teams are surefire contenders.

The Cardinals’ re-emergence has created a crowded competition. Arizona, Los Angeles and Seattle enter Week 11 at 6-3. These three teams have four more combined games against one another, beginning with Thursday night’s Cards-Seahawks rematch.

This season’s top play thus far — the Kyler Murray-to-DeAndre Hopkins game-winner over the Bills — spotlighted the primary reasons behind the Cardinals’ resurgence. They have now beaten two winning teams — Seattle and Buffalo — and rank in the top 10 both scoring and points allowed. Their plus-56 differential leads the division, one this franchise has only won twice (in 2008 and ’15).

Through nine games, Murray has accounted for 27 touchdowns (10 rushing); that is more than unanimous 2019 MVP Lamar Jackson had at this time last season. Providing a predictably strong early return on the Cards-Texans March trade, Hopkins ranks second in the NFL with 861 receiving yards. Arizona’s defense, however, enters Week 11 with five D-linemen on IR — including big-ticket offseason signing Jordan Phillips. Chandler Jones also residing on IR will make matters tougher on Vance Joseph‘s unit in the second half.

The Rams have shown plenty defensively this season; the unit has powered their 6-3 start. Hired after stays as the Bears and Broncos’ outside linebackers coach, Brandon Staley has the Aaron Donald– and Jalen Ramsey-led unit standing second in points allowed. Staley’s troops held Russell Wilson without a touchdown pass and forced him to commit three turnovers Sunday.

Los Angeles also has one of this year’s top-graded offensive lines, though that unit stands to take a hit after Andrew Whitworth‘s knee ligament tears. Jared Goff‘s 25th-ranked QBR figure, however, threatens to impede the Rams from their third division title in four years. The Rams and Cardinals do not play until Week 13.

Seattle is 1-2 in divisional play, holding that mark after a near-70-minute loss in Arizona and Week 10 defeat in L.A. Wilson has lost the MVP lead, per Las Vegas, to Patrick Mahomes and lacks the defensive support Goff and Murray are receiving. The Seahawks enter Week 11 ranked last in yards allowed. Although their maligned pass rush sacked Josh Allen seven times, that game still included 415 passing yards from the Bills quarterback. While Wilson has thrown a league-high 28 touchdown passes and is on track smash his career-high figure (35 in 2018), Seattle’s soon-to-be 32-year-old superstar passer has also turned the ball over 10 times in the team’s three losses.

The 49ers have a somewhat one-sided win over the Rams on their resume, but the defending NFC champions are 4-6. “Decimated” may be too light of a descriptor to illustrate San Francisco’s injury situation.

The new seven-team playoff bracket will make it easier for the NFC West to send three teams to the playoffs. But which of these teams will have the highest seed and the playoff “home” game?

Vote in PFR’s latest poll (link for app users) and weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 11/18/20

Here are Wednesday’s practice squad moves:

Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals

  • Signed: CB Trajan Bandy, CB Donnie Lewis

Houston Texans

  • Signed: WR Artavis Scott

Las Vegas Raiders

  • Placed on practice squad reserve/COVID-19 list: DL David Irving

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

New England Patriots

  • Signed: DT Nick Thurman
  • Activated from practice squad IR: TE Jake Burt

Rams Player Tests Positive For COVID-19

One Rams player has tested positive for COVID-19, per a club announcement. In accordance with league guidelines, the player has entered self-quarantine. The Rams say that the player is in quarantine “out of an abundance of caution” — a possible indication that he is asymptomatic or only mildly symptomatic. Meanwhile, the Rams will conduct all Wednesday activities virtually.

The Rams are slated for a huge Monday Night Football matchup against the Bucs this week. Barring an outbreak of more positive tests, that game will still go on as scheduled. The Seahawks — the Rams’ last opponent — will be keeping a watchful eye on test results. To date, they are the only NFL team that has not reported a positive COVID-19 test since the start of the regular season.

On Tuesday, the Washington Football Team and the Giants both announced COVID-19 positives. Kicker Graham Gano is the Giants’ COVID-19 positive player; the Washington positive is unknown.

Rams Make Handful Of Roster Moves

The Rams made a handful of roster moves Tuesday afternoon. Los Angeles is signing kicker Matt Gay while placing offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth, safety Taylor Rapp, and kicker Kai Forbath on IR, the team announced Tuesday.

Obviously with Forbath going on injured reserve, the team needed a new kicker. They started the year with seventh-round rookie Sam Sloman as their kicker, but replaced him with Forbath after he struggled to start the year. Gay was drafted by the Bucs in the fifth-round last year, and spent 2019 as their kicker. He was waived in September following a training camp battle with veteran Ryan Succop that he lost. He then signed with the Colts’ practice squad, which the Rams just poached him off.

Whitworth of course suffered a torn MCL and PCL during Sunday’s win over the Seahawks. The injury was thought to possibly be season-ending, but head coach Sean McVay indicated recently they were hoping to get him back and that it would sideline him only 6-8 weeks. If that’s the case, then the veteran stud left tackle may be able to return and block Jared Goff‘s blindside for a playoff run. 2018 third-round pick Joseph Noteboom will take his place for the time being.

Rapp is a 2019 second-rounder who was a starter as a rookie and had once again been playing a big role on defense this season. He has an MCL sprain which McVay said will likely sideline him between 3-4 weeks. Meanwhile Forbath has a sprained ankle. Gay will apparently compete with Austin MacGinnis, currently on the practice squad, for the kicking job.

Andrew Whitworth Has Torn MCL & PCL

It looks like the Rams will be without one of their leaders moving forward. Veteran left tackle Andrew Whitworth‘s initial tests on his injured knee showed a torn MCL and PCL, Jay Glazer of Fox Sports tweets.

Fortunately, Whitworth told Glazer that it looks like his ACL was spared. Still, it’s a significant injury that is surely going to sideline him for some time, and potentially the rest of the season. These field exams are very accurate, so Whitworth’s ACL is almost certainly in tact. Still at his age, any injury this serious could spell the beginning of the end. He’s one of the oldest non-quarterbacks you’ll ever see play effectively, as Big Whit is set to turn 39 next month.

The stud offensive lineman has flirted with retirement each of the past couple offseasons, but has always chosen to come back. A second-round pick back in 2006, he spent the first 11 years of his illustrious career with the Bengals before signing with Los Angeles in 2017. He’s made four Pro Bowls and three All-Pro teams, including a first-team selection in that 2017 season.

As the anchor of Sean McVay’s O-line, he’s been a huge part of the Rams’ offensive success over the past few years. 2018 third-round pick Joseph Noteboom, who’s primarily a guard and was just activated off IR, filled in for Whitworth during the Rams’ win over the Seahawks after he went down. We’ll keep you posted as soon as we have more details on how long he’ll be on the shelf.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/14/20

Here are Saturday’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Jacksonville Jaguars

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Washington Football Team 

Coaching Notes: Campbell, Smith, Dolphins

Prior to hiring Adam Gase, the Jets requested an interview with Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell. The Browns were interested as well, before promoting Freddie Kitchens. Instead, the Big 12 leader signed an extension to stay in Ames. But Campbell is intrigued by the prospect of coaching in the NFL, according to NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero. Known for his offensive acumen and the revitalization effort he authored at Iowa State — which has started 5-2 this season — Campbell could be a more serious contender to fill one of the league’s coaching vacancies next year. Since the last time he popped up on the NFL radar, Kliff Kingsbury and Matt Rhule have made the jump. The Cyclones’ 40-year-old HC may be next.

Here is the latest from the coaching ranks:

  • Unsurprisingly, Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith has emerged as a coaching candidate. “A lot of intrigue” surrounds Tennessee’s second-year OC, Pelissero adds. Smith, 38, did not receive looks last season, but Ryan Tannehill‘s sustained success — Thursday night’s underwhelming performance notwithstanding — after a mediocre Miami career has turned heads. Smith figures to receive interview requests in 2021.
  • Despite the NFL’s recent trend of preferring offense-oriented coaches, Brandon Staley is viewed by some as a future head coach. The Rams plucked Staley off Vic Fangio‘s Broncos staff, making the 37-year-old assistant their defensive coordinator. He is viewed by current and former colleagues as a future HC, Pelissero adds. However, teams may want to see Staley be a coordinator for more than one season. Prior to his Los Angeles arrival, he served as outside linebackers coach in Chicago and Denver.
  • Shifting to current coaching situations, a few teams will be without staffers Sunday. The Dolphins will be hit hardest on this front. After placing Christian Wilkins and Kyle Van Noy on their reserve/COVID-19 list, the Dolphins will be without quarterbacks coach Robby Brown, defensive line coach Marion Hobby, outside linebackers coach Austin Clark and quality control staffer Kolby Smith against the Chargers because of coronavirus protocols, per ESPN.com’s Cameron Wolfe (on Twitter). Running backs coach Eric Studesville and former Texans OC George Godsey will assist Chan Gailey with QB responsibilities.
  • The Bengals and Steelers have a combined 10 players on their respective COVID lists. The Bengals will also be without wide receivers coach Bob Bicknell because of “COVID-19 reasons,” the team announced. Assistant wideouts coach Troy Walters will take on more responsibility.