The quarterback has been “making good progress and steady progression” since being placed in the protocol Tuesday, Rams coach Sean McVay said Friday.
Stafford worked out and threw the ball Thursday, and he participated in the Rams' practice Friday on a limited basis. None of that progress means Stafford will play for Los Angeles (3-5) against the Cardinals (3-6) at SoFi Stadium, however.
“It could go all the way up until 90 minutes before kickoff," McVay said on the decision to allow Stafford to play.
“When you’ve got a guy that’s a veteran player like him, you’re not going to risk at all,” McVay added. “We’re not going to skip any steps. I don’t want that to be misunderstood. But I think it would be silly of me to rule him out when you’re talking about our quarterback, the guy that means so much to us, if there’s a possibility (for him to play) while not (putting him at risk).”
The Rams say they had no indication Stafford had concussion symptoms last Sunday during their loss at Tampa Bay. Stafford was sacked four times by the Buccaneers, and he has been sacked 28 times in eight games this season behind a patchwork offensive line consisting of eight different starting lineups in eight games.
Stafford went into the concussion protocol Tuesday after the usual postgame medical examinations, the Rams said.
Despite his poor protection, Stafford is completing a career-best 68.4% of his passes for 1,928 yards with eight touchdowns against eight interceptions, including just three picks in the past six games. He has been one of the NFL's most durable quarterbacks during his career, missing only eight games — all of them in the 2019 season with Detroit — over the past 12 years.
John Wolford is expected to start for the Rams if Stafford can't play. Wolford, a four-year backup in McVay's offense, has played only in mop-up duty since he started two games for Los Angeles during the 2020-21 season, including a playoff game.
The Rams got positive injury news about offensive lineman Coleman Shelton and rookie running back Kyren Williams, who will both play against the Cardinals. Shelton, who has started at right guard and center this season, missed four games with a high ankle sprain.
Williams, a fifth-round pick out of Notre Dame, has yet to play on offense after injuring his ankle on his only special teams snap during the Rams' season opener against Buffalo.
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Greg Beacham, The Associated Press