The LA Rams have opted to make veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford's decision on whether or not he is healthy enough to play in Week 9 fall to a gametime decision. That may not bode well for Fantasy Football GMs who want to get one last week out of Stafford before he and the LA Rams enter their BYE week, but it is how the NFL and the LA Rams roll this week.
The Rams only have backup quarterback Brett Rypien on the active roster for Week 9, a fact that could prove to be disastrous for the Rams if Stafford is deemed unable to go. And so, the LA Rams signed former rookie reserve quarterback Dresser Winn to the practice squad this week. Perhaps predictably, the Rams have elevated QB Dresser Winn to a backup quarterback role for Week 9.
If Stafford cannot go, the Rams will compete in Week 9 with starting quarterback Brett Rypien, with rookie QB Dresser Winn backing him up. Between the two quarterbacks, they have combined to throw 10 forward passes this season. Perhaps even more concerning is the fact that the Rams have only just signed Winn back to the practice squad this week.
Rams record at the backup QB role is very concerning
I won't deny that it is awfully easy to second guess the Rams roster moves after the fact. But I cannot help but feel that the Rams made a huge mistake this season as the quarterback position. The history of the Rams quarterback position since HC Sean McVay has assumed the helm has been a love/hate relationship with the starting quarterback. Former Rams QB Jared Goff ran the gamut from love to hate, and current Rams QB Matthew Stafford remains in the love category.
But the backup quarterback position has been a painful experience for Rams fans. It's as though the Rams purposefully place next to no thought into any type of succession plan, and merely view a backup quarterback as the guy who runs the scouting team. The problem shows up when the starting quarterback is injured, and the Rams suddenly must entrust the offense to the guy who has run every offense in the NFL at practices except the Rams offense.
As soon as the Rams placed rookie QB Stetson Bennett on IR, the Rams needed to address the quarterback depth by adding a third quarterback to the practice squad. As of today, the Rams have four offensive linemen, and two tight ends, and have only signed a backup quarterback to the practice squad this week. Just for clarity, the Rams have three tight ends on the active roster, with TE Hunter Long designated to return to the active roster.
The Rams have 10 offensive linemen on the active roster.
Try to use the Rams roster in 2023 better
If there is a weakness in the LA Rams' strategy this season, it is the fact that the Rams are not optimizing their opportunities to develop rookies and young players this season. The Rams cannot simply continue to stack veterans on the depth chart if the goal is to give young players a chance to grow and develop.
That includes those areas on the Rams roster where a successor to a key starter is not apparent.
Regardless of how many years the Rams expect to get out of veteran QB Matthew Stafford, the quarterback room needs to get serious attention in the offseason. I would be happy to see as many as five or six quarterbacks competing for playing time in the Rams 2024 training camp.
Elevating Dresser Winn was expected. But it also suggests that Matthew Stafford has not improved to the point of being expected to start in Week 9. That is par for the course but is not a very comfortable position for the LA Rams to face this week.. Would it be any better if Dresser Winn had been on the Rams practice squad all season?
On thing is certain. That could not have been any worse.