The Los Angeles Rams lost their preseason debut to the Los Angeles Chargers 13-6 but there were a ton of bright spots to take from the game. One such highlight was second-year quarterback Bryce Perkins out of the University of Virginia and it will be interesting to see how the Rams handle his development and whether or not they’ll be able to keep him through final cuts and waiver pickups.
Perkins finished the night completing 7-of-10 passes with 42 yards, one touchdown, and a passer rating of 111.3, playing most of the second and third quarters on Saturday night. He was also the team’s leading rusher with four carries for 23 yards. Although Perkins didn't have many passing yards, he still showed poise in the pocket. He led the team with confidence, moved through his progressions, and looked like a veteran out there in his first NFL game action.
Before the game in Perkins presser with the media, a reporter asked whether he was nervous or anxious? His response was “No man, I’m ready. A big part of my game is my legs so I get a chance to try and do both and showcase what I got speed-wise, I'm ready.”
When asked about Bryce’s skillset, Head Coach Sean McVay reiterated how special he can be with his legs.
I think it keeps defenses honest. You know so much of what you see is predicated on defenses usually playing 11 on 10, where they’re not necessarily having to account for the quarterback as a runner. You can certainly do those things with him. And when things break down off schedule, somebody gets beat, that athleticism, he can kind of find a way of when its wrong, making it right. So that’s what he did at his career in Virginia. He’s done that at practices for us over the last year, and now you guys will get a chance to see it too.
When talking about making those off-schedule plays with his legs during his career at Virginia, McVay was not exaggerating. In 2018, Perkins rushed for 923 yards and nine touchdowns, and in 2019 he rushed for 769 yards with 11 touchdowns. On top of all those rushing yards, he passed for over 3,500 yards in 2019.
On Saturday night, he showed off all his traits in front of the fans at SoFi stadium. With his touchdown pass to receiver Trishton Jackson late in the second quarter, Perkins didn't just stare down his first read and force it. He went through his progression and once he realized Tutu Atwell was not open, he scanned the field and threw a strike to Jackson in the end zone.
Calm and confident, he didn't panic when his first option had tight coverage.
He also got the LA Rams sideline fired up when he scrambled on a third-and-8, stiff-armed a defender, and hurdled a player to try to get the first down. That athleticism is not a trait you can find in just any quarterback. The priceless reactions of his teammates say it all, they couldn’t believe what they had just witnessed right before their eyes.
Former Virginia QB Bryce Perkins to former Syracuse WR Trishton Jackson for a preseason touchdown pic.twitter.com/oROYWkw3Oi— Billy Heyen (@BillyHeyen) August 15, 2021
Bryce Perkins is completely unconsciouspic.twitter.com/91wSUZ2Gq9— Sosa Kremenjas (@QBsMVP) August 15, 2021
Normally, coach McVay and the staff like to only keep two quarterbacks on the active roster, but they might find themselves in quite the predicament if Perkins keeps this level of play up in the preseason. It’s also too soon to rule out Hodges, who has more NFL experience than Perkins and current backup John Wolford combined.
It remains to be seen if the coaches favor Perkins or Hodges, who got the start on Saturday night and played most of the fourth quarter, but because Matthew Stafford and Wolford are unlikely to suit up in the preseason, they’ll both get plenty more chances to show what they can do in the next two exhibition contests. That won’t just give LA more film to consider on Perkins, it will also reveal his potential abilities to the rest of the NFL and a quarterback of any value is a quarterback who could be stolen away.
The Rams stashed Perkins on the practice squad this past year, but can they get away with it this time?