Clap for the Wolfman, LA Rams tap QB John Wolford to save season

Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports /

LA Rams News: The team will go with backup QB John Wolford for his first NFL start to lead the team into the playoffs.

The LA Rams are playing on thin ice all over the roster right now. No part of the team’s roster is more vital and yet thinner than the quarterback position. That’s been a concern all season, but one the Rams were willing to risk.  As other teams embraced the concept of a quarantine quarterback, the LA Rams have consistently pooh-poohed the idea,  Water under the bridge now, as the Rams are flying this plane now.

So here we are, the hopes for the season rest in the hands of backup quarterback John Wolford. The scenario is very similar to a 1970’s hit by the rock band The Guess Who, who recorded Clap for the Wolfman. In the lyrics, the band urges listeners to ‘clap for the Wolfman, he’s gonna rate your records high‘. Wolfman Jack was a very popular disc jockey of his day, and when he played a song on his radio show, it frequently did very well on the pop charts.  So too has the fate of the Rams season found itself to our own ‘Wolfman’, John Wolford. The same rule of ‘Clap for the Wolfman’ applies now as well because our fate is in his hands.

What does Wolford bring?

6-foot-1 200-pound John Wolford does not bring NFL experience. While he has run the Rams offense in 2019 preseason games, and in 2020 NFL scrimmage games, that is the extent of his resume. The Rams knew Wolford’s limits and did not draft any competition for the backup role. His body of work began and ended with the Rams 2019 preseason, but it was enough to launch him into the role of the Rams backup quarterback role.

As we stated in a previous article:

"‘ In four games, he was 25 of 44 passes for 249 yards, three touchdowns, and zero interceptions. He also rushed 10 times for 28 yards. Not glamorous. Not glitzy. Just solid numbers in limited opportunities.’"

And there you are. Simply dependable performance.

Hot. 3 takeaways from QB John Wolford’s command of LA Rams offense. light

With the way that these LA Rams are performing on defense, and the sudden brilliance of kicker Matt Gay, the Rams may be down, but they have a fighting chance. Wolford is not unique for the Rams offensive scheming. Head coach Sean McVay had plenty of dual-threat talent when he was the offensive coordinator for QB Robert Griffin III. And new offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell was instrumental in aiding the Washington Football Team to get the most out of then-rookie QB Dwayne Haskins.

Test drive before purchase

Many fans have been pushing hard for the Rams offense to infuse a dual-threat quarterback in their offense. Now, the Rams will have that opportunity to test drive a dual-threat hurler to see how he can run this Rams offense. While he has not been playing in regular-season games, he has the benefit of being on the Rams.

Must Read. Could LA Rams John Wolford deliver a Kurt Warner Super Bowl win?. light

In limited exposure, Wolford has always appeared to have complete confidence and mastery of this Rams offense. In some ways, when he moves in the pocket, he stresses the defensive secondary purely by the real threat of a huge run downfield. Defensive backs cannot look in two different directions. So that suddenly becomes a new and dangerous dimension to this Rams offense.

Run with this

While Wolford is not exactly a running quarterback, he is competent enough at it to threaten defenses with his legs. While at Wake Forest, John Wolford completed 761 of 1275 passes for 8,794 yards 59 touchdowns, and 41 interceptions. But his senior year is when it all ‘clicked’ for him, completing 239 of 374 passes for 3192 yards, 29 touchdowns, and just six interceptions. He also rushed 447 times for 1120 yards and 19 touchdowns. In his senior year, he ran 140 times for 683 yards and 10 touchdowns.

He played one season for the now-defunct Arizona Hotshots from the American Alliance Football league. While there, he played in eight games and completed 63.3 percent of his passes for 1616 yards, 14 touchdowns, and 7 interceptions.  He also rushed 36 times for 160 yards and one touchdown.

Related Story. LA Rams backup quarterback John Wolford is a lone wolf. light

Passion personified

He can run with the ball. But much like Seattle Seahawks’ quarterback Russell Wilson, he metes out his rushes in a game, preferring to pass the ball to move the chains. And he does exactly that. He is a heady quarterback, instinctively sliding in the pocket to clear passing lanes and avoid pressure. But one of the more distinguishable aspects is his positive energy.

While it may change, Wolford plays with a passion for football. He takes delight in the fact that it is, after all, a game. And he has fun at it. Perhaps that is one of the key missing ingredients on this offense after all? It would be nice to have a game where the focus is not all about the first Goff turnover sighting in the game. Win or lose, even that small difference would be welcome at this point.

Can lightning strike twice for the Rams?

Wolfford is confident in his ability. The Rams coaching staff is confident in his ability. And there is no denying that this scenario has some characteristics of the way an unfamiliar and unknown Kurt Warner replaced then veteran quarterback Trent Green to lead the Rams to a Super Bowl. Warner was unknown at the time. But not for long.

Wolford is unknown to the NFL, much like Warner was in his day. But he doesn’t need to throw for 500 yards here. The Rams need him to move the chains, protect the football, and score when the team gets into the red zone. Just one win is all the Rams need now. And with one win, the positive energy that will bathe this team will be historic.

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Wolford can deliver that much. That I am confident about.