Rams likely to endure that short-handed feeling again against Lions
Michael Brockers, William Hayes and Robert Quinn stood on the sideline last week feeling helpless.
The linemen comprise three-fourths of the Rams’ starting defensive front. But injuries prevented them from aiding teammates trying to stop Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy.
The Rams are accustomed to missing a player or two from a position group because of injuries.
“The past couple years, it’s been one guy out for a little bit of time,” Brockers said Friday, adding, “It wasn’t a good feeling. But deep in the back of your mind you know it was a good decision.”
The trio’s status for Sunday’s game at Detroit is uncertain. Brockers, Hayes and Quinn were limited Friday and are listed as questionable. Their availability won’t be determined until after warm-ups at Ford Field, the first stop on a 10-day trip that concludes with an Oct. 23 game against the New York Giants outside London.
Last month, Brockers signed a three-year extension worth about $33 million, according to spotrac.com. He is nursing a hip injury suffered during practice. The 6-foot-5, 326-pound tackle tested his condition on the field before warmups last Sunday but was not able to play.
He is “really hopeful” that he will be available against the Lions, he said.
“I feel good,” he said. “And as long as I can protect myself out there I think I’ll be able to go.”
Hayes suffered an ankle injury at Tampa Bay on Sept. 25 and sat out against Arizona and Buffalo. He said his goal was to return sometime between Sunday and the bye week that follows the team’s return from London
“I doubt if I go Sunday,” he said, “but next Sunday looks really good.”
Hayes sustained the injury during the first half of the Rams’ 37-32 victory over the Buccaneers. He went to the locker room for treatment but returned after Eugene Sims was ejected.
Hayes said coming back into the game did not exacerbate the injury.
“I didn’t do anything to aggravate it,” he said. “The damage had kind of already been done.
“I felt I could go out and battle with my guys. That’s what I get paid to do.”
Quinn is nursing a shoulder injury suffered against Arizona.
Coach Jeff Fisher said Brockers, Hayes and Quinn still had time to heal before the game against the Lions.
“They’ve got, what, 48 hours, 46 hours or something like that, from now,” Fisher said after practice. “Each passing day, they’re getting better. Obviously we need them, especially against this group.”
The Lions feature quarterback Matthew Stafford and receiver Marvin Jones, a formidable combination that the Rams hope to slow down by creating pressure with their pass rush.
Stafford is completing 68% of his passes, 10 for touchdowns, with four interceptions.
“He’s been making throws that not very many quarterbacks can make, with his mobility, his arm strength,” Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams said. “But he understands, you can see it, that he’s taking the next step as a quarterback being the pseudo-offensive coordinator, too.”
Last week, the Rams struggled at times to contain Buffalo quarterback Tyrod Taylor and could not slow McCoy during the first half of a 30-19 defeat at the Coliseum.
Ends Ethan Westbrooks and Eugene Sims played in place of Hayes and Quinn, and tackles Cam Thomas and Dominique Easley rotated in place of Brockers.
“They played pretty solid,” Williams said of the line. “It was a few guys behind the ball, behind the defensive line,” that must improve.
Against the Lions, the Rams’ secondary will be without Trumaine Johnson. The franchise cornerback suffered an ankle injury against Buffalo and could be sidelined several weeks.
Troy Hill will start in his place opposite cornerback E.J. Gaines.
Looking for fresh start
Last season, Todd Gurley rushed for 140 yards and two touchdowns in a 21-14 victory over the Lions.
“It was a pretty good game, but that was last year,” Gurley said. “I wish I was doing what I was doing last year, but I’m not.”
Gurley ran for 128 yards or more in each of his first four starts as a rookie. His performance against the Lions came six weeks later, in Week 14.
It is his only 100-yard effort in his last 13 games.
Gurley, who rushed for 1,106 yards and 10 touchdowns last season, is averaging 57.6 yards per game and only 2.7 yards per carry. He has scored three touchdowns.
The biggest difference between 2015 and this season?
“I can’t tell you,” he said. “I don’t know, couldn’t tell you.”
Receiver Brian Quick (calf) and offensive lineman Cody Wichmann were limited and are listed as questionable….The Rams departed for Detroit on Friday afternoon.
Follow Gary Klein on Twitter @LATimesklein
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