With 25 Rams now on COVID list, is Sunday’s game vs. Seahawks in jeopardy?
The Rams’ COVID-19 outbreak continued Thursday, with nine more players added to the league’s reserve/COVID-19 list, which could affect the status of Sunday’s scheduled game against the Seattle Seahawks at SoFi Stadium.
Star linebacker Von Miller was among those added to a list that includes 25 Rams from the roster and practice squad, among them star cornerback Jalen Ramsey, star receiver Odell Beckham Jr., starting safety Jordan Fuller and starting offensive lineman Rob Havenstein.
Rams coaches and players were not made available to the media Thursday. But the team has been in contact with the NFL to weigh options — including if they don’t have enough players available for Sunday’s game — a team spokesperson said before the most recent additions to the list were announced.
Miller, linebackers Troy Reeder, Obo Okoronkwo and Christian Rozeboom, offensive linemen Bobby Evans and Tremayne Anchrum, and defensive backs Jake Gervase, Kareem Orr and Antione Brooks were added to the list Thursday.
The Rams are one of seven NFL teams in intensive COVID-19 protocols, which require virtual meetings, mask-wearing and other actions.
The Rams have 16 players on the reserve/COVID-19 list after three more were added Wednesday. There’s a chance the team could practice Thursday.
The Rams closed their Thousand Oaks practice facility Tuesday and Wednesday, with plans to hold a jog-through Thursday. Meetings were held virtually and players were tested, but the jog-through was canceled, the spokesperson said.
Rams coach Sean McVay has said that all but one Rams players are fully vaccinated. The players on the reserve/COVID-19 list are fully vaccinated, the spokesperson said.
The NFL on Thursday announced updated protocols that include changes to “how fully vaccinated players can ‘test out’ of COVID-19 protocols and return from quarantine quicker,” NFL.com reported.
If a player or staff member is fully vaccinated and asymptomatic for at least 24 hours, he or she could return from quarantine as soon as the day after his or her initial positive test, the report said.
In 2020, the NFL rescheduled several games because of COVID-19 issues. But that was during a season in which fans were not allowed in most stadiums because of the pandemic.
Doing so this season might require greater logistical challenges.
Because the Rams facility has been closed, team trainers have not been able to attend to injured players, the spokesperson said.
Star tackle Aaron Donald and center Brian Allen, for example, were listed as limited on Wednesday’s projected injury report because of knee issues.
The Rams are coming off a 30-23 victory over the Arizona Cardinals, a game they won hours after learning that Ramsey and tight end Tyler Higbee would be sidelined because of COVID-19 issues. Havenstein, running back Darrell Henderson and cornerback Donte Deayon also did not play after being put on the reserve/COVID-19 list in the days leading up to the game.
Higbee has since returned to the roster.
Against the Cardinals, the Rams got important contributions from less-heralded players such as offensive lineman Joe Noteboom, back-up tight ends Kendall Blanton and Brycen Hopkins, and cornerback David Long among others.
The players did not have much time to prepare for their roles. But McVay said this week that late notice can sometimes help players who “can almost be conscientious to a fault” when afforded too much time.
“It is a very fine line where you don’t have a chance to overthink anything,” he said, “you just got to go react.”
Those players could again be called upon against the Seahawks (5-8) as the Rams make a push to overtake the Cardinals in the NFC West.
The Rams also have remaining games at Minnesota and Baltimore before playing the finale against the San Francisco 49ers.
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