Why Did Rams QB John Wolford Miss Preseason Game vs. Bengals?

Wolford, the Rams’ backup, played in just one of three preseason contests.

In an ideal world, preseason will be the busiest time of the year for backup quarterbacks.

With Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay‘s philosophy of not playing starters in the preseason, backup signal caller John Wolford figured to see extensive action.

However, with Saturday night’s exhibition against the Cincinnati Bengals in the books, the Rams’ preseason has come to a close, and Wolford finished it with just one appearance – the Week 2 contest against the Houston Texans.

Wolford was held out of the opener as a precaution before starting and playing the first half against Houston. He had a productive outing, going 14 of 22 for 142 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions.

McVay called the opportunity important to help keep Wolford sharp should something happen to starting quarterback Matthew Stafford. With the Bengals game providing a chance to get Wolford another handful of reps before Stafford takes over for the regular season, he appeared poised to start once again, but wound up not taking a single snap. McVay revealed why after the Rams’ 16-7 loss.

“The thumb injury that he’s sustained, he was having to change and alter the way that he was delivering the ball,” McVay said. “It’s really kind of day-to-day, because it’s not anything that’s like a ligament or a bone or anything. It’s just working through that threshold, which can be a tricky thing with your throwing hand. If it was a different situation and circumstance, he probably could’ve pushed through.”

To recap, Wolford’s thumb injury shouldn’t be considered a long-term issue, and he likely would’ve played had Saturday night’s game been a regular season meeting. However, with the preseason contest merely serving as a tune up, there was no need to force the issue.

Wolford’s absence created an opportunity for third-string quarterback Bryce Perkins, who played the entire game, finishing 14 of 19 for 143 yards, while adding 33 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Though his long-term status with the team is in doubt ahead of Tuesday’s roster cuts, Perkins has made a fan in McVay.

“It was another good opportunity for Bryce to come out here and shine,” McVay stressed. “He’s a fun a guy to watch.”

As things played out, Wolford had to sit back and watch Perkins as well. Los Angeles will be hoping Wolford doesn’t have to see key snaps in the regular season, as that would mean disaster for Stafford.

Still, this was a valuable opportunity to get Wolford back onto the field, something McVay said was important to his development a few years ago.

Wolford’s spot on the roster wasn’t at stake Saturday night, but there’s a chance that the snaps he missed could prove impactful at some point during the regular season.

With Stafford at the helm and Wolford serving as his backup, Los Angeles will begin its quest to win back-to-back Super Bowl’s on Sept. 8, when the Buffalo Bills come to town for a matchup on Thursday Night Football.

You can follow Daniel Flick on Twitter @DFlickDraft

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