In his Friday press conference earlier today, Los Angeles Rams Head Coach Sean McVay brought the Rams active roster into focus. Kind of. He announced that L.A. will activate receiver Cooper Kupp and edge defender Ochaun Mathis off of the Injured Reserve List, but stopped short of declaring who would start at left tackle.
The Rams active roster currently stands at 50 players and McVay did not give a specific timetable for when the Kupp and Mathis additions would be officially logged.
“I’ll tell you and I know this,” Mcvay said, (it will be) “whenever Tony (Pastoors, VP of Football and Business Operations) sends it in. I don’t know whether it’s today or tomorrow, but you’ll see that reflected in (Ochaun) Mathis as well.”
McVay would not divulge whether Alaric Jackson or rookie Warren McClendon would actually start as Matthew Stafford’s blind side protector, but he appeared optimistic that Jackson would be ready to go on Sunday. Or was he?
When asked if he planned to start McClendon against the Eagles. McVay responded in his normal cryptic fashion,
“There’s a possibility of that. Those are things we’re looking through and he’s done good job with practice, and Warren would be a candidate for sure. He’s a mature rookie (and) played in a lot of big games. I thought he’s handled things really well this week... I think Warren has also taken some really good steps in the right direction... He’s a great listener. He’s able to apply some of the corrections and he’s a big man that plays physical.”
But a few minutes later, when pressed if he anticipated Jackson as the starter, the Rams head man approached the question like it was almost a done deal.
“I think he’s going to play,” McvAy said, “Yeah, that’s the expectation. That’s why he’s (listed on injury report as) questionable and not doubtful.”
There’s only thing for sure at left tackle. After struggling against the Cincinnati Bengals in his maiden NFL playing time, Zach Thomas won’t be out there if Jackson can’t answer the call. When asked if Thomas might get a look at eft tackle, McVay curtly said,
“Warren McClendon would be the guy that we would look at.”
Whoever gets the nod, he’ll have his hands full. Philly’s defensive line is very deep and will rotate seven players constantly. They are strong against both the run and pass, currently 2nd in the NFL in run stop win rate and they back it up with a #8 ranking in pass rush win rate.
How the L.A. offensive line plays will go a long way in deciding the outcome of the game. Not just for the Rams scoring, but just as importantly for controlling the flow of the game to give the defense support.
Now it’s seems apparent that the Rams have to stay with the run game, even if it isn’t successful in traditional yardage gained. But the Rams are a pass-based offense and if Matthew Stafford is afforded enough time should be able to exploit the Eagles secondary. Whether it’s Alaric Jackson or Warren McClendon, Staff cannot be spooked by his blind side.