More sacks in Matthew Stafford’s future? Injuries mounting on Rams O-line
The beleaguered Rams got more bad news Tuesday.
A day after his team suffered a beatdown by the San Francisco 49ers, coach Sean McVay said that center Coleman Shelton would be sidelined four to six weeks because of a high ankle sprain and safety Jordan Fuller two to four weeks because of a hamstring injury.
The Rams (2-2) play the surging Dallas Cowboys (3-1) on Sunday at SoFi Stadium with a team thinned by injuries along the offensive line, receiver corps and secondary.
“We’ve had more moving parts than we’ve ever had since I’ve been going to the early part of the season,” McVay said during a videoconference with reporters.
Center Brian Allen is making progress in his return from a knee injury suffered during the season-opening defeat by the Buffalo Bills, but it remains uncertain whether he might return this week or next, McVay said.
That means the Rams could play the Cowboys with third-string Jeremiah Kolone once again snapping to quarterback Matthew Stafford, who was sacked seven times during the 24-9 loss to the 49ers. The Rams also could elevate veteran center Matt Skura from the practice squad.
Rams fall short in multiple areas in 24-9 loss to San Francisco 49ers. Matthew Stafford’s interceptions, the most in the league, remain a concern.
Guard David Edwards remains in concussion protocol after sitting out against the 49ers.
“We’re keeping our fingers crossed that he’ll be able to get out of that and be available this week,” McVay said.
Shelton’s absence Sunday ensures that Stafford will operate behind a different starting line for the fifth time in five games.
Stafford has been sacked 16 times — tied for second most in the NFL — with all but two coming in two games. Stafford was sacked seven times by the Bills, and then once in victories over the Atlanta Falcons and Arizona Cardinals.
Like the Bills, the 49ers overpowered the Rams’ line.
“A couple of those were just mental errors that are uncharacteristic for our players to make,” McVay said. “We want to try to minimize the amount of times that our quarterback’s getting hit.
“The way that both those games have kind of unfolded, that is not ideal.”
Linebacker Micah Parsons and ends DeMarcus Lawrence and Dorance Armstrong are among the standouts for a Cowboys defense that has amassed 15 sacks, tied for second most in the NFL.
Sean McVay’s reputation as an offensive genius has been on the ropes this season with Matthew Stafford and the Rams struggling. Can McVay turn it around?
That will be only one of the challenges for the defending Super Bowl-champion Rams as they try to rebound from their seventh consecutive regular-season loss to the 49ers.
Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott has not played since suffering a thumb injury during a season-opening loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but backup Cooper Rush has led the Cowboys to victories over the Cincinnati Bengals, New York Giants and Washington Commanders.
“They’ve been on fire lately,” Rams linebacker Justin Hollins said after the loss Monday night. “So, we’re going to have to get in the film room, look at what they’ve been doing and come out ready.”
Along with the offensive line’s troubles, receiver Van Jefferson remains on injured reserve while rehabilitating from knee surgery that was performed during training camp. Cornerbacks David Long and Cobie Durant sat out the last two games because of groin and hamstring injuries, respectively.
The lack of continuity because of injuries is not an excuse for the team’s performance through nearly a quarter of the season, McVay said.
“I’m not sitting here going to make excuses for why we have or haven’t done the things that are in alignment with maybe the expectations we have,” he said, “but there’s a lot of football to be played.”
Receiver Tutu Atwell, a second-round draft pick in 2021, was inactive against the 49ers because of the Rams’ “overall approach” for the game, McVay said. Atwell does not have a catch and does not play on special teams. “It was really just exclusive to [Monday] — not anything that Tutu didn’t do,” McVay said. “We’ll see what that means for his status this week.”… McVay on linebacker Bobby Wagner’s hit on the man who ran onto the field with a smoke bomb: “Bobby’s got a way of just solving problems. That’s what he does.”
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