For the second time in three weeks, Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford has entered the concussion protocol. That’s a diagnosis neither the Rams nor Stafford and his family will take lightly.
Sitting at 3-7 through 10 games and a one percent chance to make the playoffs, the question becomes whether or not the Rams should continue to put their quarterback in harms way. Are the Rams better off shutting down their star quarterback for the rest of the season?
It’s a well-known fact at this point that the Rams offensive line hasn’t been very good or consistent this season. On Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs, the Rams will be starting their 11th different offensive line combination in 11 games. The Rams haven’t started the same offensive line combination a single time this season.
If Ty Nsekhe can’t play, the Rams will likely be starting, their fourth left tackle, third left guard, fourth center, fourth right guard, and Rob Havenstein. At what point is it not worth putting Stafford in danger? With that offensive line, that’s exactly what they would be doing. Stafford has been hit 63 times in nine games this season.
Last offseason, the Rams gave Stafford a four-year $160M extension. That’s an investment that they need to keep at the front of mind. That’s especially the case while their window is still open with players like Aaron Donald, Jalen Ramsey, and Cooper Kupp still on the roster.
At this point in the season, it makes more sense to get Stafford healthy and ready for 2023. Once a player has one concussion, it makes a second 1-2 times more likely that they suffer a second. Once that player has a second, a third is 2-4 times more likely. In the span of three weeks, Stafford has now been put in the concussion protocol twice.
In a lost season, the Rams are better off resting Stafford and hope that concussions don’t become a lingering issue going into next season.
Stafford potentially retiring also isn’t out of question. According to Ian Rapoport, he thinks Stafford will be back next season, but he doesn’t know for sure. Given Kelly Stafford’s understandable stance on concussions, retirement could be in the conversation.
With the current state of the Rams offensive line, the best thing that the Rams can do for Stafford is shut him down and let him get healthy Aside from the concussions, we also don’t know how healthy Stafford’s elbow has been. After a long 2021 in which the Rams played 21 games, resting their 34-year old quarterback could be in the best interest of everyone involved.
In the meantime, the Rams can also see what they have in backup quarterback Bryce Perkins. Perkins went 5-for-10 for 64 yards last week against the New Orleans Saints with John Wolford inactive due to a neck injury. It will be interesting to see what Perkins can do with a full week of practice reps with the first-team offense.
With a 3-7 record after 10 games and the 2022 season seemingly lost, the best thing that the Rams can do is shut down Matthew Stafford and re-tool for 2023.