Baker Mayfield still won’t know Rams’ playbook cold vs. Packers

He performed magic with less than two days of preparation.

What could Rams quarterback Baker Mayfield do with 10?

Mayfield and Rams coach Sean McVay will answer that question Monday night when the Rams play the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.

The defending Super Bowl champion Rams (4-9) and the Packers (5-8) are close to being officially eliminated from the playoffs, but the sudden resurgence of Mayfield taking on Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers adds some excitement in the encounter.

Mayfield, demanded waivers from the Rams. On December 6, he came off the bench against the Las Vegas Raiders and hit two quarter-quarter scoring drives — including a 98-yard game winner with no timeouts remaining — to lead the Rams to a 17-16 win.

Now Mayfield is returning to Lambeau Field, where the Packers made four interceptions in a 24-22 win over Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns on December 25.

Packers cornerback Jaire Alexander didn’t play in that game because of an injury, but Mayfield’s performance apparently left a lasting impression on the 2020 Pro Bowl selection as the Packers prepared for the Rams.

“I think with the right game plan and preparation,” Alexander told Green Bay reporters, “we could get about seven interceptions.”

Mayfield didn’t commit a turnover against the Raiders — an interception was disallowed for a pass interference penalty — so McVay is expected to give him more of the playbook against a Packers defense coordinated by former Rams assistant Joe Barry .

This is the third time in three seasons that the Rams have played at Lambeau Field.
In 2020, the Packers defeated the Rams 32-18 in an NFC divisional round playoff game. That loss set off a chain reaction of offseason moves by the Rams, beginning with quarterback Jared Goff trading two draft picks for the first-round pick and a third-round pick to the Detroit Lions for quarterback Matthew Stafford.

Last season, the Rams lost to the Packers 36-28, the last loss in a three-game losing streak from which the Rams recovered to win Super Bowl LVI.

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers walks off the field with his thumb taped.

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers leaves the field with his injured thumb.

(Charles Rex Arbogast / Associated Press)

Rodgers, 39, has played through thumb and rib injuries this season. He has passed 22 touchdowns with nine interceptions.

“He looks like the great player he’s always been,” McVay said, adding, “I know he’s working on his thumb injury, but in a lot of cases you don’t see a difference in how the ball pops out of his hand and.” its ability to recognize defense structures.

“If you get out of position, he’ll make you pay.”

Rodgers lost his favorite goal when receiver Davante Adams was traded to the Raiders after last season. Younger receivers struggled to fill the gap, but they improved their timing with Rodgers.

“You have to believe that everyone is open because they see them,” said linebacker Bobby Wagner. “Most quarterbacks can follow their eyes, they take you to the ball, but he looks to the left and then throws a precise pass to the right, and most quarterbacks can’t do that.”

Rodgers’ quick release makes him particularly difficult to disrupt, lineman Greg Gaines said.

“You try to raise your hands to block passes and he just sits there and flicks the ball out there,” Gaines said. “No resolution, nothing. It’s just out.”

Controlling Rodgers won’t be the Rams’ only challenge. Temperatures during the game are expected to be in the teens.

“I played a couple of games that were pretty cold, maybe snow, a little bit rainy or windy,” Mayfield said. “But temperature wise I think this will be the coldest for me.”

Rams lineman Rob Havenstein played in college in Wisconsin. The eighth-year pro said alongside having a positive attitude towards the cold, it is important for players to ensure they place their helmets in front of a heater before putting them on their heads.

“Otherwise,” he said, “it’s a block of ice that attracts it.”

The cold is also a motivating factor for production, Wagner said.

“The faster you make the game, the faster you can get to the heaters,” he said. “If you’re cold, put on a play so we can get to the heaters.”

McVay has not donned a hat or hood to keep his head warm on previous visits to Lambeau Field with the Rams when temperatures were in the 30s. But that could change on Monday night.

“It might be one of those deals where I feel like my ears will fall off and you throw it at it,” he said, “so we’ll see.”

Mayfield will also wait.

“Everyone has to deal with that,” he says. “Maybe I have to go with a ski mask or something else to keep warm, so we’ll see.”

https://www.latimes.com/sports/rams/story/2022-12-19/advancing-rams-at-packers Baker Mayfield still won’t know Rams’ playbook cold vs. Packers

Emma Bowman

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