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Three more Rams are added to COVID-19 protocol list ahead of Seahawks game

Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey fends off Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence.
Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey, trying to fend off Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence on Dec. 5, is one of 16 Rams on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
(Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times)

The COVID-19 outbreak that forced the Rams into enhanced protocols continued Wednesday with three more players added to the NFL’s reserve/COVID-19 list.

Linebacker Justin Hollins and tight ends Johnny Mundt and Jared Pinkney were added to the list, the team announced, increasing the number of Rams players to 16.

On Tuesday, the day after the short-handed Rams defeated the Arizona Cardinals 30-23 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was among nine players who were put on the list.

Cornerbacks Jalen Ramsey and Dont’e Deayon, running back Darrell Henderson, tight end Tyler Higbee and offensive lineman Rob Havenstein did not play against the Cardinals because they were on the list.

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Matthew Stafford obliterated doubts about his ability to win big games with a brilliant performance in the Rams’ 30-23 win over the Arizona Cardinals.

The Rams are not the only NFL team affected by the surge: Six other teams also are in enhanced protocols, which call for daily testing, mask-wearing and other procedures.

The Rams worked virtually on Tuesday and Wednesday. They could return to their Thousand Oaks facility on Thursday, a team official said. The Rams would continue to meet virtually but they could use a mammoth outdoor tent as a makeshift locker room and equipment room in preparation for Sunday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks at SoFi Stadium.

Rams coaches and players were not made available to the media on Wednesday. But coach Sean McVay said Tuesday that he was working through ways “to figure out the best way to do it with our team and … give ourselves a chance to get some of these guys back before we play the Seahawks.”

During a conference call with Los Angeles reporters on Wednesday, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said his players had tested negative. He said he had been in contact with the NFL “just trying to figure out what’s happening, what’s going and where we are.”

Carroll did not anticipate a change in the NFL schedule.

With four games remaining, the Rams and Chargers hold playoff spots in the wild-card category, but still have a chance to win their West divisions.

“We’re going about it normally, knowing that the bomb can drop and blows everything up and all of sudden you’re not playing the game — that could happen,” Carroll said. “But we’re not going to anticipate that. We’re just going to react to it when it happens, knowing that it could. Unlikely.”

Carroll praised the Rams for their performance against the Cardinals, which came only hours after they learned that Ramsey and Higbee would join five other players on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Higbee has since been activated to the roster.

“The Rams had an episode going into this last game and handled it beautifully and played great and had a fantastic football game against the hottest team in the league,” Carroll said. “It’s much to their credit, the coaches, the players, the leadership and all of that to pull that off.

“And so, we know that they know how to do that. So, we’re not really thinking anything but that is how they’re going to perform.”

The Seahawks are coming off a 33-13 victory over the Houston Texans that improved their record to 5-8.

Rams receiver Cooper Kupp tries to get away from Seahawks linebacker Jordyn Brooks on Oct. 7.
Rams receiver Cooper Kupp tries to get away from Seahawks linebacker Jordyn Brooks on Oct. 7 in Seattle. The Rams won the game 26-17.
(Craig Mitchelldyer/Associated Press)

The Rams had a huge role in the Seahawks’ season. They defeated the Seahawks 26-17 in an Oct. 7 game at Seattle. In that game, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson suffered a finger injury. Wilson had surgery and sat out the next three games.

The Seahawks have been a perennial contender in 12 seasons under Carroll, who also enjoyed great success at USC. The Seahawks finished 7-9 in 2010 and 2011 but have not finished under .500 since.

“It’s been lousy,” Carroll said of losing. “It hasn’t been any good. The last 20 years, this hasn’t happened very much so we’re trying to get through it and stay the course and keep doing the things we know how to do.

“We’ll try to finish really well like we normally do, and whatever happens happens.”

Carroll said he has had to “compartmentalize the bad seasons over the years and put them some place where I can’t even find them, other than to stir me when I need it.”

Now his team faces a Rams team poised to possibly make a run for the division title.

“We’re playing really hard, and we’ve improved here in the last month,” Carroll said. “We just have to keep it going and see what happens at the end.”


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