NFL Q&A: Why didn’t Rams spend on OL? How badly hurt is Chargers QB Justin Herbert?

Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford passes under pressure from the Carolina defense
Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford passes under pressure from the Carolina Panthers defense Sunday at Sofi Stadium.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Readers had a lot on their minds after the Rams’ bye week and the Chargers’ loss to the Seattle Seahawks. Rams beat writer Gary Klein and Chargers beat writer Jeff Miller field some questions:

How bad is Justin Hebert hurt?

On a Hail Mary pass to end the half last week he could not come close to the end zone, about 15 yards short and he could only throw it around 50 yards in the air. That is not Justin Hebert, his whole season has been off since he was injured.


Michael Eriksson, Natalia, Texas

Miller: On that play you’re referencing, if you go back and watch it again, Herbert was rushed to get rid of the ball because a defender was closing in on him with about a 12-yard running start. He had to make the throw and then try to protect himself from the hit that was about to happen. Personally, I think he’s hurting more than he’ll admit. He looked shaky in the Seattle game after looking more like himself for a couple of weeks there. This week off can’t do anything but help him physically.

Where is the critique of Rams management for spending more than half the money on four players and absolutely nothing on offensive linemen since returning to LA?

James Douglas, Huntington Beach

Klein: The Rams spent a lot of money this offseason to extend quarterback Matthew Stafford, defensive lineman Aaron Donald and receiver Cooper Kupp. Two years ago, they also spent a lot to sign cornerback Jalen Ramsey — and will probably spend more after this season to extend his contract. But I’m not sure there is much reason to complain. They won the Super Bowl with those players as cornerstones. And it’s not accurate to say they spent “absolutely nothing” on offensive linemen. Before this season, they gave Joe Noteboom $25 million in guarantees and center Brian Allen got $8 million. On the eve of the opener, Rob Havenstein signed a new deal with nearly $25 million in guarantees. Unfortunately for the Rams, Allen injured his knee again and sat out five games. Noteboom is out for the season after suffering a season-ending Achilles injury against the Carolina Panthers.

Rams coach Sean McVay discusses the Cam Akers situation, missing out on Christian McCaffrey and getting back injured players before facing the 49ers.

Oct. 24, 2022


I was impressed with the way the 49ers put together and pulled off the trade for [Christian] McCaffery, a valiant attempt to salvage an injury-ridden season.

Why can’t the Chargers do something like this? Do the Chargers want to compete or will they always be also-rans? Not McCaffery, but trades before the deadline in an attempt to salvage the season?

Is it Telesco or ownership?

How hot is Telesco’s seat?

Joe G, Montgomery Creek

Miller: Tom Telesco has taken a conservative approach throughout his career in regards to making trades. He never has made a deal for a player at or near the NFL’s trade deadline in 10 years as the Chargers’ GM. But there’s a chance that could change over the next week. Until March, Telesco also never had traded a pick as high as the second round for a player. Then he acquired Khalil Mack from Chicago for a second and a sixth. I do think he is more under the gun, so to speak, this year. I wouldn’t be shocked if the Chargers made a trade, but I wouldn’t expect anything too dramatic.

Chargers linebacker Khalil Mack (52) celebrates with Kenneth Murray Jr. after recovering a fumble against Seattle.
(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

Is SoFi Stadium to blame for Chargers’ slew of injuries?

Miller: I’m guessing you mean the turf at SoFi and aren’t asking if the stadium is somehow cursed or something. This is an extremely hard question to answer with any certainty. But I would say that, yes, the turf used in most stadiums today isn’t helping the players stay any healthier. Joey Bosa, J.C. Jackson, Mike Williams, Keenan Allen, Jalen Guyton, Joshua Kelley and Chris Rumph II all have suffered lower body injuries this season at SoFi Stadium. In all honesty, though, I’m not sure anyone could prove those same injuries wouldn’t have happened at another stadium with a similar playing surface. The bottom line is that football should be played on natural grass to best protect the players, but those days are gone and probably never coming back.

Chargers cornerback J.C. Jackson suffered a ruptured patellar tendon during Sunday’s loss to Seattle and medical experts say it might take a while for his return.

Oct. 24, 2022

When are the Chargers going to address coaching? This team is constantly slow starting. That’s coaching. He can’t read his team, his players — he has to go. No, I don’t want Sean Payton! Lombardi has to go too.

Don Pedersen, Highland Heights

Miller: After the season is when all this will be addressed and probably not before, I’m guessing. Unless things go horribly wrong from here, I can’t see the Chargers making significant coaching changes during the season. This franchise hasn’t operated that way, particularly in Tom Telesco’s decade as GM. I can assure you the slow starting thing — they’ve been outscored 41-3 in the first quarter over the past three games — is something they are addressing.