LOS ANGELES (AP) — Coach Sean McVay says Baker Mayfield probably will be active for the Los Angeles Rams’ game against the Raiders on Thursday night, just two days after the Rams claimed the former No. 1 draft pick off waivers from Carolina.
McVay wouldn’t rule out the possibility of Mayfield playing against Las Vegas, but the Rams coach indicated it likely would happen only if John Wolford’s persistent neck injury forces struggling Los Angeles to try an admittedly desperate solution to its quarterback woes.
“I mean, it would be unprecedented from my experiences, because of everything that a quarterback is asked to do, to bring him in in such a short period of time and have him go out there,” McVay said. “But I do think that he’d be capable of it if we asked.”
Mayfield arrived in Los Angeles on Tuesday night to join the Rams (3-9), a defending Super Bowl champion on a six-game losing streak. The longtime Cleveland Browns starter asked to be waived by the Panthers after falling to the third string on their depth chart.
Although McVay has been a fan of Mayfield’s talents for many years, the coach admits the Rams are scrambling for solutions with Matthew Stafford on injured reserve with a bruised spinal cord, his season likely over.
Wolford wasn’t terribly sharp in the Rams’ loss to Seattle last weekend, and he has been dealing with a neck injury for several weeks. Third-stringer Bryce Perkins was ineffective as a passer two weeks ago in Los Angeles’ loss at Kansas City.
Enter Mayfield, who won McVay’s personal respect when they talked football while sitting together on a flight to the NFL draft combine in 2018. McVay has enjoyed NFL success with Kirk Cousins and Jared Goff at the controls of his offense, and the chance to see Mayfield up close was compelling.
McVay repeatedly declined to rule out the possibility of playing Mayfield against the Raiders, who have won three straight. The decision likely will depend on the health of Wolford, who is listed as questionable for the game.
“He’s a natural thrower,” McVay said of Mayfield. “There’s a lot of things, whether it be in Cleveland or even in Carolina, that he’s been asked to do that are very similar concepts (with) carryover to what we’ve been able to do, and some of the things that we have as foundational parts of our offense.”
Mayfield’s NFL stock clearly is at an all-time low, and McVay didn’t deny the possibility that the partnership with the Rams could extend into next season with Mayfield as a backup to Stafford, who is expected to have a healthy offseason.
“I’ve always really liked him,” McVay said. “What I can say is there’s an excitement about being able to work with him for what we know is five more weeks, and whether he plays in five games or four games is to be determined, but I’m excited about that.”
As expected, McVay ruled out seven-time All-Pro defensive lineman Aaron Donald for the second straight week because of a high ankle sprain. Cornerback David Long Jr. (groin) and edge rusher Terrell Lewis (back) won’t play against the Raiders, further depleting a defense that has faded over the past four weeks as Los Angeles’ losing streak compounds.
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