Los Angeles Rams: Sean McVay should not rest his key players all preseason

Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay continues to struggle with whether to sit, or play his key starters this exhibition season.

It’s hard to imagine that there is an absolute right or wrong answer to the dilemma Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay is contemplating these days. It’s also not one that is exclusive to him. But it is an interesting if not complicated one.

Should McVay rest his starters for all four preseason games?

Trust he’s not the only NFL head coach who has struggled with the idea. As for the question or argument, both sides can present valid points.

First of all, wanting to play it safe in an effort to avoid injury to starting players isn’t a new idea. That said, plenty do play in the preseason, remain injury free, and do so also in the regular season.

Then again as recently as this past week, Washington Redskins rookie Derrius Guice tore his ACL and is gone for 2018. NFC West rival San Francisco had a slew of injuries in an exhibition game against the Dallas Cowboys. Examples everywhere that support the idea that holding back top line players is a better way to go.

or is it?

My argument for why I think that McVay should play his starters, even if only for a few series or as much as a quarter, is that the idea the Rams first team can simply flip the switch come Week 1 seems illogical.

Think for a moment.

The Rams open the Monday Night schedule in the late game against the Raiders in Oakland. Fortunately, they play their next three at home against the Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Chargers, and then the Minnesota Vikings.

Does anyone really think that LA can just hit the field with no real game time experience and run the table, or go 3-1?


After that, they go on the road for three straight weeks at Seattle, Denver, and San Francisco, before a home game against Green Bay.

Not a lot of gimmies in those first eight games.

Hey, I get the argument for McVay resting his starters, especially a player like running back Todd Gurley and veteran lineman like John Sullivan and Andrew Whitworth.

My question is how does a team go from 0 to 60 in Week 1 of the NFL season? Especially this Rams team who has new faces in significant places.

I mean, maybe practice is enough reps to hit the ground running against the Raiders.

Maybe a 22 game career is enough for Jared Goff to resume from where the 2017 season ended.

Maybe Goff and Brandin Cooks will just connect and the magic will automatically happen.

Maybe the defense with or without Aaron Donald will be just fine with no preseason work to speak of.

I just know that’s a lot of maybe.

By every definition, the Rams are as close to an All-Star team as you’d ever find. On paper, the sky’s the limit. I mean, who doesn’t think that the Los Angeles Rams are a bonafide contender right here and now?

Whatever McVay does, be it rest his starters all preseason, or play them a quarter, remaining injury free is no lock.

Then again, neither is meeting all those expectations.