The Rams could technically still be in the running, but who are they fooling?
Your season is over.
Matthew Stafford’s should be too.
In a video conference call Monday, coach Sean McVay told reporters that Stafford, 34, will continue to be evaluated for a concussion he may have sustained in a 27-20 loss to the New Orleans Saints the previous day.
Here’s something that needs no further evaluation: Stafford shouldn’t return to the field this season.
The fact that Stafford has displayed concussion-like symptoms for the second time in three weeks should be an Aaron Donald-sized stop sign for the Rams, who have nothing to gain and everything to lose by playing their Super Bowl quarterback again .
Stafford was placed on the NFL’s concussion record two days after a loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Nov. 6 and missed a Week 10 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. He was cleared for the game against the Saints on Friday, only to be checked for another concussion after a second-half sack.
There is now evidence linking concussions to the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE.
This NFL season has already produced chilling images of Tua Tagovailoa lying on her back with her hands raised and fingers twisted.
It’s now time for the Rams to take a knee in their season.
They are 3-7 and will likely be 3-8 after they visit the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. They’re in last place in the NFC West.
Regardless of whether Stafford is placed on injured reserve or put back on concussion protocol, the Rams should declare his season over.
“I’m not going to be reckless and we’re going to be really smart with Matthew,” McVay said. “That’s kind of a place where I leave it.”
Being smart would consider the player’s history. Stafford has been through injuries with the Detroit Lions, he played through elbow pain last year, and the bet here is he’ll try to play again this year.
The Rams must save him from himself.
McVay sounded like he understood what was going on.
“I think you should be really careful with that,” McVay said when asked about Stafford’s potential availability for the upcoming Kansas City game. “It will primarily be about the person.”
Say what you will about owner Stan Kroenke and the Rams, but they’ve served their players well since moving the team back to Los Angeles.
They have rewarded players who have exceeded their rookie contracts with multi-year renewals.
They signed Stafford to a four-year deal after he won the Super Bowl last season.
The end of Stafford’s season would be a pictorial waving of the white flag for a franchise that prides itself on its resilience but would also give the Rams a chance to show what they’re about.
The decision would be in the best interests of Stafford, who has a wife and four daughters.
The decision would also be in the Rams’ best interests, even if losing games didn’t mean they’d be near the top of the draft next year. While the Rams traded their first-round draft to the Lions as part of the Stafford deal, they have Stafford under contract for three more years.
What’s the point of putting Stafford at another risk this year?
All-Pro wide receiver Cooper Kupp is recovering from ankle surgery and will be on injured reserve for at least three more weeks. The Rams are unable to run the ball.
Sending Stafford back onto the field would basically make him a sitting duck behind an injury-plagued offensive line that has already allowed him to be sacked 29 times, which ranks fifth in the NFL.
“It’s tough,” said McVay, without Kupp and now possibly without Stafford. “These guys are really the fundamental pieces of how you get it built. … If these guys aren’t out there on the field, you never replace two players like that.”
McVay is right. The Rams can’t replace Stafford and they’ve already proven they can’t protect him on the field. You can only protect him from further harm by stopping him from doing so.
https://www.latimes.com/sports/rams/story/2022-11-22/rams-matthew-stafford-concussion Rams need to shut down quarterback Matthew Stafford for season