The Rams held a walk-thru session on Wednesday to kick off the club’s preparation week for the 49ers. The team will cap its regular season on Sunday, before hosting a playoff game at the Coliseum during the NFC’s Wild Card Weekend in January.
Although the Rams did not hold an official workout this afternoon, they would have been without several of their starters on the practice field.
Left tackle Andrew Whitworth, outside linebacker Connor Barwin, and center John Sullivan were given their weekly veteran rest days and were listed as non-participants. L.A. was also without left guard Rodger Saffold (oblique), linebacker Mark Barron, and wide receiver Cooper Kupp (knee).
Head coach Sean McVay said that Kupp’s knee issue was something that he had been dealing with throughout much of the regular season. But the injury was brought on specifically by Kupp's touchdown reception in Sunday’s contest.
“He had just the normal bumps and bruises, but that knee had gotten banged around a little bit [because] he’s gotten a bunch of different plays and he’s competing in the run game,” McVay said. “But it was aggravated on that play.”
RAMS TO REST SEVERAL STARTERS ON SUNDAY**
L.A. clinched the NFC West and a spot in the playoffs with its victory over the Titans in Week 16. But regardless of the outcome in Week 17, the Rams can finish no better than the NFC’s No. 3 or No. 4 seed heading into the postseason.
As such, McVay indicated on Tuesday that the club would likely be resting some of its starters against the 49ers and later confirmed the news after Wednesday’s session.
Left tackle Andrew Whitworth, center John Sullivan, running back Todd Gurley, and defensive tackle Aaron Donald will all be inactive this weekend. And although quarterback Jared Goff will be active — since the roster currently holds just two quarterbacks — Sean Mannion will receive his first start this weekend.
“We came in as a staff and we talked amongst our coaching staff and took everybody’s opinions into account,” McVay said. “For us everything that we do is intentional and designed to be best for our team and for our players.”
“When a situation like this comes up, we talk about how it’s a nice luxury to have, but you want to make sure that you handle it the right way for our team,” he continued. “And it might not be for every team, but we feel like that’s the best approach for us.”
WEEK 17 ROSTER MOVES
The Rams made several roster moves ahead of Wednesday’s session.
McVay had announced on Tuesday that the club would be placing outside linebacker Matt Longacre on injured reserve. The third-year pro has been dealing with a back issue for most of the regular season and will now have surgery to correct the issue.
The club also waived outside linebacker Kasim Edebali. The Boston College product was signed to the Rams roster early last week after the team placed quarterback Brandon Allen on IR. But the outside linebacker was inactive in last Sunday’s win over the Titans.
Finally, L.A. placed defensive back Marqui Christian on injured reserve with a broken clavicle. The third-year pro out of Midwestern State played in 12 games this season, recording nine tackles — contributing mainly on special teams.
In corresponding moves, L.A. promoted offensive lineman Aaron Neary and outside linebacker Garrett Sickels from the practice squad to the active roster.
The Rams claimed Neary off waivers from the Eagles in early September. Although the rookie has never played in a regular season game, he was a standout player at Eastern Washington where he earned second-team All-America honors.
Sickels signed with the Rams practice squad in October after spending time with both Cleveland and Indianapolis. In his senior season at Penn State, the outside linebacker earned second-team All-Big Ten honors with 47 tackles and led the Nittany Lions with 12.5 tackles for loss and six sacks.
The team also signed tight end Henry Krieger-Coble and cornerback Taurean Nixon to its practice squad.
Once Longacre is officially placed on IR, the Rams roster will stand at 52 players.