Rams Rumors

Rams Expected To Place RB Malcolm Brown On IR

The Rams are expected to be without their backup running back for the remainder of the regular season and playoffs, as Los Angeles head coach Sean McVay told reporters today that Malcolm Brown is likely to be placed on injured reserve after suffering a clavicle injury last week (Twitter link via Lindsey Thiry of ESPN.com).

Once he is formally moved to IR, Brown’s 2019 campaign will officially end, for a few reasons. One, the Rams have already designated the NFL-maximum two players to return from injured reserve in cornerback Aqib Talib and return man Pharoh Cooper. Two, Brown’s recovery is expected to take eight-to-ten weeks, so even if league rules didn’t prevent him from coming back this season, Brown wouldn’t be ready until — maybe — the NFC Championship Game or the Super Bowl.

Brown didn’t see many snaps behind All-Pro Todd Gurley, but he did produce when called upon. Brown has averaged 4.9 yards per carry this season, while Football Outsiders ranks him as a top-10 back in DVOA among runners with fewer than 99 carries, meaning he was extremely efficient on a per-play basis. Meanwhile, Pro Football Focus assigned him a pass-blocking grade of 90.0, which would rank first among NFL running backs if he had enough snaps to qualify.

Brown, 25, is scheduled to become a restricted free agent next spring. While he almost certainly won’t be offered a first-round tender, a second-round tender (which should be worth approximately $3MM) isn’t out of the realm of possibility. If the Rams don’t believe Brown will have much of an RFA market, they could opt to use the right of first refusal tender, which will only be worth ~$2MM.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Rams RB Malcolm Brown To Miss Time

Rams running back Malcolm Brown will miss the rest of the regular season with a clavicle injury, sources tell Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (on Twitter). However, there is hope that Brown could heal up in time for the playoffs. 

Brown is the primary backup to star Todd Gurley, so the Rams will be in a tough spot if Gurley goes down in the next few weeks. Beyond Brown, who has averaged 3.6 carries per game this season, the Rams have a pair of inexperienced backs in Justin Davis and 2018 sixth-round pick John Kelly. Brown is not a starter for the Rams, but head coach Sean McVay deemed his injury to be a “huge loss” since he is the team’s top insurance policy behind the MVP candidate.

They’ve already clinched the division, but a win will officially slot them in for a first-round bye.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Rams Have Contacted Kliff Kingsbury

The Rams have reached out to former Kliff Kinsgbury to gauge his interest in joining Los Angeles as an offensive assistant/consultant for the remainder of the season, according to Peter Schrager of NFL.com (Twitter link).

Kingsbury has already been generating interest from around the NFL, but it wasn’t clear if he’d attempt to latch on with a club before the 2018 campaign expired, or instead wait for next season. The Rams, admittedly, probably aren’t a long-term fit for Kingsbury. Head coach Sean McVay calls the offensive plays in Los Angeles and isn’t likely to relinquish those duties any time soon.

But Kingsbury could presumably assist in other capacities with the Rams, and he’s certainly respected around both the collegiate and pro game for his offensive ingenuity and creativity. While Los Angeles wouldn’t immediately start running Kingsbury’s Air Raid offense if he were to be hired, his presence on the team’s staff could only help the Rams over the course of the regular season and into the playoffs.

Kingsbury, 39, was fired after five-plus years of lackluster results at Texas Tech, during which he posted a 35-40 overall record. While he’s never coached in the NFL, he did play professionally with the Patriots, Jets, and Saints from 2003-05.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/2/18

Today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Los Angeles Rams

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Rams QB Coach Zac Taylor Expected To Be Top HC Candidate

  • The Rams‘ success under head coach Sean McVay is having a trickle-down effect on his coaching staff. La Canfora writes that Los Angeles’ quarterbacks coach, Zac Taylor, is drawing plenty of buzz as a head coaching candidate and is expected to receive significant interest from clubs looking for a new HC this year. Taylor served as Miami’s offensive coordinator during the second half of the 2015 season and earned rave reviews for his work, and teams would love to bring the 35-yard-old aboard as a coordinator. But the relatively shallow pool of top HC candidates expected to be available in 2019 suggests that Taylor could make a McVay-like leap to the head coaching ranks next year.

Rams Activate Aqib Talib From IR

The Rams officially activated cornerback Aqib Talib from injured reserve. Talib, who was designated for return earlier this week, is likely on course to play this Sunday against the Lions.

Talib’s return is huge for a Rams defense that has struggled in recent weeks. Talib’s surgically repaired ankle is good to go, and he’ll help a unit that has allowed at least 27 points in the past four games. In Talib’s three games with the team, the Rams allowed 0, 13 and 23 points, though two of those contests were against the Raiders and Cardinals.

Before the injury, Talib had a reputation for durability. From 2012-2017, he never missed more than three games in a season.

The 10-1 Rams have pretty much clinched the NFC West. If they beat the Lions, they’ll take another step towards securing a first-round bye.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Rams Designate Aqib Talib For IR Return

Going into their December slate, the Rams will have a key piece of their defense back on the field.

The Rams designated Aqib Talib for an IR return on Monday. This matches up with the timeline Talib gave recently. He will be eligible to return this weekend against the Lions but has 21 days to be activated.

Either way, this should be a critical boost for a Rams defense that’s struggled in recent weeks. Talib was placed on IR because of an ankle injury, for which he underwent surgery. He’ll return to practice in advance of Los Angeles’ Week 13 preparations.

Coming off their historic 54-51 win over the Chiefs, the Rams obviously are one of the NFL’s Super Bowl favorites. But they’ve now allowed at least 27 points in their past four games, with their past three opponents eclipsing the 30-point barrier. In Talib’s three games with the team, the Rams allowed 0, 13 and 23 points. Granted, two of those performances were wins over the Raiders and Cardinals, but could be a significant development for a dominant team.

The Rams gave up a fifth-round pick for Talib, who is signed through the 2019 season. Fellow trade acquisition Marcus Peters has struggled for much of this season, so it will be interesting to see how he fares when working with Talib again.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cooper Kupp Undergoes ACL Surgery

  • While Cooper Kupp‘s season-ending injury certainly wasn’t promising, Rams coach Sean McVay revealed that the wideout underwent successful ACL surgery. “It went really well,” McVay said (via Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com). “He called right afterwards and he was in great spirits. I know if anybody is going to attack the rehab process the right way, it’s going to be Cooper Kupp. Fortunately, some of the things when you do get in there, none of the other things that sometimes can delay that rehab process were affected. It was a clean surgery, did a good job repairing that and we expect him to be able to make a good recovery. Looking forward to getting him back.” The 25-year-old was having another productive season before suffering the injury, hauling in 40 catches for 566 yards and six touchdowns in eight games.

    [SOURCE LINK]

Rams To Activate WR Pharoh Cooper

The Rams are expected to activate wide receiver/returner Pharoh Cooper from injured reserve before Monday night’s game against the Chiefs, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Cooper Kupp, who went down with a torn ACL in Week 11, has formally been placed on injured reserve. 

Cooper has appeared in just one game this season, as the ankle injury he suffered in Los Angeles’ season opener landed him on IR. Now that he’s missed eight weeks, Cooper is eligible to return and began practicing last week. That opened up a three-week window during which the Rams had to decide whether to activate Cooper, or keep him on injured reserve for the remainder of the year.

A fourth-round pick out of South Carolina in 2016, Cooper earned a Pro Bowl nod in 2017 as a return man. The 23 year-old Cooper handled 66 combined kick and punt returns, and led the NFL in yards per kickoff return (27.4). He will immediately take back both of those roles from Blake Countess and Jojo Natson, who have been handling kicks and punts, respectively.

Cooper hasn’t been much of an offensive force through two-plus years in the NFL. He played roughly 400 offensive snaps from 2016-17 and managed only 25 total receptions during that time. Cooper could conceivably see snaps at receiver now that Kupp is done for the season, but the Rams typically stick with the same three wideouts (Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods, and — now — Josh Reynolds) in their “11” personnel package.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Rams’ Pharoh Cooper To Return From IR

Aqib Talib‘s return will be the higher-profile Rams IR decision, but on Tuesday, they used the first of their IR-return slots on a specialist.

Return man Pharoh Cooper will come off Los Angeles’ IR and return to practice. An ankle injury sustained in Week 1 shelved Cooper. Having gone on IR before Week 2, Cooper could return to action Monday if the Rams choose. They have three weeks to activate the All-Pro returner, or he’ll stay on IR the rest of the way.

This will lock the Rams into Cooper and Talib coming back from IR. Talib is expected to be ready to return from his ankle malady after L.A.’s Week 12 bye. The Rams’ IR, though, isn’t filled with return candidates who would rival a Cooper comeback.

Cooper earned All-Pro acclaim for his return work last season. Former UDFA Jojo Natson‘s been the Rams’ return man during Cooper’s absence.