The Rams kicked off their preparation week for the Seahawks with a walk-thru session on Wednesday at Cal Lutheran. L.A. will resume on-field workouts on Thursday and Friday before travelling to Seattle for Sunday's game.
Although L.A. did not hold an actual practice on Wednesday, head coach Sean McVay did announce that several players would not have participated had the Rams done more than a walk-thru.
Center John Sullivan and linebacker Mark Barron were given their normal Wednesday rest day. But left tackle Andrew Whitworth — who is normally included in the veteran rest days — was held out with the knee injury he sustained in the first half of Sunday's contest. McVay said Monday he's expecting Whitworth to be ready for Sunday.
Wide receiver Robert Woods (shoulder) and right tackle Rob Havenstein (knee) would have been limited in the session, while outside linebacker Connor Barwin was back to full participation.
Both Barwin and Woods are expected to return to the field against the Seahawks after missing the last two and three games, respectively.
SEAHAWKS DEALING WITH MULTIPLE INJURIES**
In Seattle, the Seahawks could be without as many as six of their defensive starters on Sunday. Defensive end Michael Bennett (knee), linebacker Bobby Wagner (hamstring), and linebacker K.J. Wright (concussion) were all non-participants in Wednesday's practice.
Plus, safety Kam Chancellor (neck), defensive end Cliff Avril (neck), and cornerback Richard Sherman (ankle) are already out for the season.
Seattle was hit with a pair of injuries in Sunday's contest against the Jaguars, when Wagner and Wright both exited the game early. On Wednesday, Seahawks' head coach Pete Carroll addressed the media, saying that both of the Pro Bowl linebackers would be day-to-day.
"K.J.'s in the protocol and that's up to the (doctors)," Carroll said, via www.seahawks.com. "Bobby's going to go all the way through the week as he has the last couple weeks, so we'll have to wait and see. He's very upbeat and very positive and he's planning on getting ready. That's what he's doing."
And while the Seahawks have sustained several key injuries in their defense, McVay said the Rams' approach to the unit will remain the same.
"Wagner is one of the best ones in the league and so is K.J. Wright, but whether they're available or not, it's still going to be a great defense," he said. "And we've got to be ready to go, especially going there and what a tough atmosphere and environment that is to play in."
CHANGING THE PRACTICE SCHEDULE
For the second week in a row, the Rams made a change to their normal practice routine — choosing to hold a walk-thru session over a full practice on Wednesday.
Last week, McVay and his training staff made the adjustment due to poor air quality caused by the fires in
Ventura County. But this time around, McVay said the decision was made in an effort to keep the players "as a fresh as possible for what we feel like is going to be another physical game on Sunday."
As the regular season nears its conclusion, all NFL players are more prone to injury due to the physical nature of the game. As such, McVay said the mental approach taken on Wednesday allowed players to get work in, while giving the team one more day to recover.
"We felt like it was best to take an above-the-neck day, and really kind of get ahead on our installations for first, second and third downs," he said. "Just talking with [head trainer] Reggie Scott and [head strength and conditioning coach] Ted Rath and what good resources they've been, we felt like this was going to be the best thing for our players."
And the players seemed to agree.
"I think it's really good for the bodies at this point in the season," left guard Rodger Saffold said.
"I think we were very pleased at how fast we were able to move throughout the entire game last week and how we flew around. So, I think they just thought that continuing this type of schedule would help us out in the long run."
McVay said the decision to schedule a walk-thru during first day of the preparation week is common throughout the league, mentioning that it was something he had done while in Washington.
"We're all a product of our experiences and then when you just use some of the great resources that you have in this building, these are things that are common," he said.
Typically, the change is made because of injuries. But for L.A. the adjustment was more preventative in nature.
"Fortunately for us, we have been able to stay healthy and there's a premium on that," McVay said. "[E]verything is geared towards what we feel like is best for the players and trying to be in the best position on Sunday."