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Los Angeles Rams in injury crisis mode

The Rams have some injury issues coming out of Week 6. How they handle them might determine the fate of their 2019 season.

Los Angeles Rams RB Todd Gurley during warmups prior to a Week 6 game against the San Francisco 49ers, Oct. 13, 2019.
Los Angeles Rams RB Todd Gurley during warmups prior to a Week 6 game against the San Francisco 49ers, Oct. 13, 2019.
Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

So here we go. The Los Angeles Rams for the first time in years are beset by a variety of injuries that are going to force the hand of Head Coach Sean McVay to make some new depth chart decisions depending on how the injury report develops over the course of the practice week heading into Week 7 against the Atlanta Falcons.

Here’s everything from before and everything that’s on McVay’s plate moving forward:

Preseason injuries

While it’s old news now, the ripples from the preseason are having reverberating effects now. WR Alex Bachman, LB Josh Carraway, DB Dominique Hatfield and OLB Trevon Young were all injured but waived from the 90-man roster. ILB Micah Kiser though, who was slated to be a major contributor at inside linebacker, injured his pectoral muscle after the Rams’ second preseason game ending his 2019 season. The Rams placed him on IR to retain him though he doesn’t count against the 53-man roster. That injury has a quite specific tie to what’s going on with the position so far.

Blythe, Hager, Rapp all miss time

RG Austin Blythe injured his leg in Week 2 against the New Orleans Saints giving OL Jamil Demby a chance at playing time. Blythe ultimately missed Week 3 as well giving Demby his first start.

Meanwhile, both ILB Bryce Hager and S Taylor Rapp missed time in Week 5. Hager’s injury opened the door for UDFA rookie ILB Troy Reeder who perhaps only made the roster because of Kiser’s injury while Rapp saw stalwart S Marqui Christian earn reps.

Week 6 trio of starters

Hager and Rapp were back for Week 6 against the San Francisco 49ers though Reeder remained at ILB as Hager was relegated to special teams work only. Adding to the issues though were a trio of starters out with various ailments.

LB Clay Matthews broke his jaw late in Week 5 against the Seattle Seahawks sidelining him at least into November.

RB Todd Gurley picked up a thigh bruise that had him listed as doubtful on the final injury report though he was ruled out prior to kickoff.

And CB Aqib Talib was ruled out with a ribs injury that was more severe than the team initially let on leading us to today’s wild news ride...

Week 7 injury crisis

Talib’s rib injury was severe enough to motivate the Rams to place him on injured reserve though he has a chance of returning after eight weeks.

Compounding things was LG Joseph Noteboom who tore his ACL and MCL ending his season and keeping Demby in action.

On top of all that, S John Johnson is currently seeking a second opinion on his shoulder which suggests there’s a good chance he’s going to need an operation. McVay confirmed that Christian would fill in for him though Rapp will need to remain healthy to keep the Rams from going to the back of the safety depth chart.

And RB Malcolm Brown picked up an ankle injury that he’s managing heading into practice on Wednesday. That injury looms large with Brown having missed the end of 2018 with an injured clavicle as well as Gurley’s knee injury drama of late last season and the thigh issue that kept him out this weekend. The Rams will need both to heal up unless they’re comfortable making rookie RB Darrell Henderson, Jr., a full-time running back after his first extended action of his career this weekend punctuated by a momentum-killing dropped toss early in the second half.

We’re not to the bye yet, and the Rams have significant injuries. Remember that the Rams were the 4th-healthiest team in the NFL in 2018 per Football Outsiders after two years ranked at the top of that list.

At this rate, they’re likely to fall out of the top 10.

How McVay handles the personnel rotation required moving forward could well be a (the?) deciding factor in how the Rams’ 2019 season goes.