THOUSAND OAKS (California)
— When it comes to preseason injuries, Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay is taking no chances.
For the fourth straight season, McVay will not play starters in preseason games, including quarterback Matthew Stafford, defensive lineman Aaron Donald, and cornerback Jalen Ramsey. McVay also appears to be taking his cautious approach a step further this season, sitting numerous rotating players and backups.
“We’ll get to see a lot of our depth guys because there’ll probably be about 35 players who aren’t playing in this game for us,” McVay said following training camp practice on Thursday at the team facility.
“The aim is always to try to stay healthy,” Rams defensive coordinator Brandon Staley said. The Rams kick off their preseason campaign against the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium on Saturday.
Players who will not participate in the preseason include backup quarterback John Wolford, who suffered an appendectomy last week, but McVay did not specify which non-starters will also sit out.
“Right now, we’re working through that,” McVay said.
“But John is absolutely one of those guys an — thought he gained a lot of good experience last week and especially given the circumstances around you having that appendectomy, just want to be wise,” Devlin Hodges said.
The Rams return seven starters on offense and seven starters on defense after a 10-6 season and a divisional playoff defeat to the Green Bay Packers.
McVay has relied on joint practices to prepare his starters for the regular season in recent years, and he will continue to do so as they prepare for the 2021 schedule.
The Rams exercised in Oxnard, California, last weekend against the Dallas Cowboys, and the Las Vegas Raiders will visit the Rams’ team complex for two practices next week ahead of their preseason meeting on Aug. 1.
SoFi Stadium, 21.
The Rams have had plenty of success since 2018, when McVay decided to rest most of his stars in the preseason, including a run to the NFC title and a trip to Super Bowl LIII, where they were defeated 13-3 by the New England Patriots.
McVay had led the Rams to a 43-21 record and three playoff appearances in his fifth season as coach.
The Rams are among the preseason favorites to win Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium in February, thanks to the arrival of Stafford and the return of three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year Donald and All-Pro Ramsey.