LA Rams to deploy Guardian Cap safety helmets for training camp

Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports /

All it took was a little “heightened sense of urgency” (in the form of a banged-up thumb of their new quarterback Matthew Stafford) and the LA Rams were quick to earmark Guardian cap protective practice helmets for both their offensive line and defensive line players. That news came from the big cheese himself, head coach Sean McVay, in a Rams Training camp press conference. You may recall that we reported on those helmet caps long before the LA Rams took notice, the ones that look like cut-up mattress foam blocks glued on top of their Ridells.

The alarm was fairly palpable in the LA Rams organization until the x-rays came back negative on Matthew Stafford’s surgically repaired thumb after he banged it on the top of a defensive linesman’s helmet earlier the week in practice. And then a great big sigh of relief ensued. Close call averted.

So, now the team does something prophylactic for the phalanges. Preventative, if you will. Deploy bubble-wrapped, err, foam-wrapped helmets known as Guardian Caps.

LA Rams HC Sean McVay talks about those mattress-looking helmet caps in this video starting at the 0:20 mark.

ESPN’s Lindsey Thiry asked the question about the use of protective caps on helmets, which prompted this reply:

"“You know what? (Equipment manager) Brenden Burger had a couple of those and then the heightened sense of urgency based on what happened the other day. You know, uh, better safety, no swag with those things on, but hey, we’ll be safe and smart.  And you know, guys were great about it because they understand exactly why. It’s kind of the concussion preventative maintenance, but also most importantly, what happened the other day. You know, it was just with the quarterbacks finishing over the top, coming down on those helmets, that’ll definitely soften the blow and you don’t have to worry about, ‘Did our quarterback break his finger?’ And things like that, hopefully.” – Per LA Rams head coach Sean Mcvay."

And as for any replays of another thumbs-meeting-helmets scenario, McVay’s hoping the softer helmet caps will keep things safe, soft, and squishy.

Everybody’s fingers are flaccid. Especially the phalanges of their prized quarterback.

When Thiry pressed further and asked if protective caps would be a staple of the Rams training camp in the days to come, McVay replied yes:

"“I think it would be totally my fault if for whatever reason, something like that happened again and we have a thing in place that we can kind of at least be preventative and smart about it. And so I thought that was the smart thing, and our guys were always great when there’s a reason why.”"

It’s the right step, as the LA Rams lost starting quarterback Jared Goff to a similar type of injury in the next to last game of the season in 2020. That injury required surgery to repair his thumb. Thankfully, for the Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford, a similar type of impact merely bruised Stafford’s thumb on his throwing hand.

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It was quite clear that the Rams had seen enough. The idea behind the Guardian cap is to soften the helmet-to-helmet blow inherent at the line of scrimmage between offensive and defensive linemen. The LA Rams will receive that benefit, as well as the benefit of additional protection on their quarterbacks’ hands, at least in training camp.