The Rams went to the NFL on Wednesday exploring what their options were for their Week 15 game against the Seahawks in wake of several players being added to the Reserve/COVID-19 list.
By Friday, with 29 players added to the list, they came to the conclusion it was not viable from a safety standpoint to play on Sunday, and they wanted more time for players to recover, thus leading to postponing the game from Sunday to Tuesday at 4 p.m. pacific time.
"I think the union deserves a ton of credit here, too. Our players, coaches, everybody kind of chipped in to try to get the best understanding of, 'Could the game be played safely on Sunday?' That was always the first question," Rams Chief Operating Officer Kevin Demoff told reporters during a video conference Friday. "I think that was everybody's goal. And then once it became clear that it probably couldn't be played safely on Sunday, what were the alternatives? And obviously, it's not just us, right? It affects the Seattle Seahawks. I'm grateful to them for their communication throughout the week with the league and their ability to move. Clearly you have Cleveland and Washington in very similar situations as us, so then you add Philadelphia and Las Vegas in the same discussions. And then you have a whole host of teams that play next, every schedule change has a domino effect on all 32 teams at some point. And so balancing that, really going through (Chief Medical Officer) Dr. (Allen) Sills with the NFL, (who) did an amazing job communicating with (Rams Vice President, Sports Medicine and Performance) Reggie Scott and our team, not only about what our players are going through, but what we could expect to see in the coming days. I think it was an effort by all to adapt to what has been a rapidly-changing situation."
The situation was one the Rams were not accustomed to.
Demoff said this time a week ago, they had not had a single positive test all season. Los Angeles also had not placed a single player on the Reserve/COVID-19 list during the regular season until running back Darrell Henderson Jr. was added on Dec. 11. There are also a "handful" of non-players who have tested positive, but Demoff declined to say which members of the coaching and support staffs that included.
Demoff said they haven't gotten updated yet on the genomic sequencing the league is doing, but he wouldn't surprised if it was the Omicron variant given how rapidly it spread.
Fortunately, most those 29 players are asymptomatic, while others are displaying mild symptoms, according to Demoff.
"Fingers crossed, we hope to get some more back today, tomorrow, and in the coming days," Demoff said. "So it's a fluid process."
The team will likely treat this week like a short week from a preparation standpoint, and only hold a practice if Scott, Dr. Sills and the NFL say it is safe to do so, per Demoff. If they can, though, they'll look to maximize that time.
"Thankfully, we can be outside. We have looked at reactivating – obviously, the NFL is now in last year's protocols through this weekend," Demoff said. "We have the tent still up, we can revert quickly back to the outdoor weight room, to the outdoor tents, to do some of those things. But I think the goal would be, get the game plan in, get as many guys to practice, but I also think the coaching staff wants to try to practice with the guys they think will play. And so if there's a chance to do that, be that Sunday, tomorrow, on my hunches, we'll go that route."