THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay is taking no risk when it comes to the potential of preseason injuries.
For a fourth consecutive season, McVay will not play starters — including quarterback Matthew Stafford, defensive lineman Aaron Donald and cornerback Jalen Ramsey — in preseason games, and McVay seems to be taking his cautious approach a step further this season, opting to sit several rotational players and backups as well.
“We’ll get a chance to see a lot of our depth guys because there’s going to be probably about 35 players that are not playing in this game for us,” McVay said after training camp practice at the team facility on Thursday. “The goal is always to try to stay healthy.”
The Rams open the preseason schedule Saturday against their former defensive coordinator, Brandon Staley, and the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium.
Backup quarterback John Wolford, who underwent an appendectomy last week, is among players who will not play in the preseason, but McVay did not provide further clarification regarding which non-starters will also sit out.
“We’re working through that right now,” McVay said. “But John is definitely one of those guys that — thought he got a lot of good experience last week and especially given the circumstances around just having that appendectomy, just want to be smart.”
Quarterbacks Devlin Hodges and Bryce Perkins will share snaps against the Chargers.
Coming off a 10-6 season and a divisional playoff loss to the Green Bay Packers, the Rams return seven starters on offense and seven on defense.
Over the past few years, McVay has leaned on joint practices to prepare his starters for the regular season and is continuing to do so as they prepare for the 2021 schedule.
The Rams practiced last weekend against the Dallas Cowboys in Oxnard, California, and next week the Las Vegas Raiders will travel to the Rams’ team facility for two practices ahead of their preseason matchup on Aug. 21 at SoFi Stadium.
Since 2018, when McVay first elected to sit most starters in the preseason, the Rams have gone on to achieve plenty of success, including a run that season to the NFC championship and an appearance in Super Bowl LIII, where they lost to the New England Patriots 13-3.
Entering his fifth season as coach, McVay had led the Rams to a 43-21 record and three playoff appearances.
With the offseason addition of Stafford and the return of three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year Donald and All-Pro Ramsey, the Rams are among the preseason favorites to earn a trip to Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium in February.