Add a quarterback Matthew Stafford to the list.
Jefferson will undergo knee surgery on Tuesday, setting his status for the month of September. Game 8 opener against Buffalo Bills ‘up in the air’, and Rams have taken steps to ensure Stafford is ready to play in this game without lingering pain in his right arm, coach Sean says McVay on Monday.
Stafford played through arm pain while leading the Rams to a Super Bowl titleand he received an injection in his elbow during the offseason. He did not throw passes during organized team activity practices, but he had been a full participant in training camp practices.
On Saturday, Stafford was asked how his arm feels and if he needs to do anything different to manage it between practices.
“It’s progressing,” I said. “I’m kind of where I want to be and I’m still feeling better. Reinforce it.
“As far as things are different, reenacting this thing every year is a little bit different,” he said, waving his hands in front of his body. “So, yes, there are different challenges. We go from there.
On Monday, Stafford participated in individual drills but did not participate in full team drills. McVay said Stafford’s workload would be “diminished” in the weeks leading up to the opener as he continues to experience discomfort.
“He still feels a bit of pain,” McVay said. “I could get through. … We felt like the smartest thing was to just take a week at a time. … The most important thing is that he feels good and healthy on the 1st Sep. 8.
“We could definitely push, and he could really get over that, but that’s not the point with someone like him. It’s not something we’re concerned about, but we just want to be really smart with someone. as important as a quarterback.
Jefferson underwent surgery on his left knee in the weeks following their Super Bowl victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. He didn’t participate in drills during organized team activities, but had several impressive catches in the first week of training camp before his absence on Saturday.
Tuesday’s procedure will be on the same knee for what McVay described as a “minor knee adjustment” that was unrelated to last season’s issue.
“It’s the same knee, but it’s a little bit different,” McVay said. “And that’s a minor thing that we can clean up.
“So we’re encouraged.”
Jefferson’s absence throws one of the NFL’s potentially strongest receiving corps into a series of question marks as the Rams prepare for the Bills, who are considered a Super Bowl contender.
Cooper Kupp, the reigning NFL Offensive Player of the Year, and new addition Allen Robinson provide McVay and Stafford with two elite targets.
But the loss of Jefferson could cut deeply.
The third-year pro last season caught 50 passes, including six for touchdowns. He also showed deep-playing ability and averaged 16 yards per catch.
Skowronek, a seventh-round draft pick, caught 11 passes for 133 yards last season. He can play in many receiver positions and excels on special teams as well.
Atwell, a second-round pick, is trying to come back from a disappointing rookie season. The 5-foot-9, 165-pound Atwell looked outmatched and couldn’t find a receiver role. He returned kicks for eight games until he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury.
During the offseason, Atwell sought advice from Kupp and worked closely with the All-Pro to improve and gain strength. I did several games on Monday.
McVay also continues to openly court the free agent receiver Odell Beckham Jr. to re-sign with the Rams.
Last season, Beckham signed with the Rams past the trade deadline and helped them make their Super Bowl run. I suffered a knee injury in the second quarter of the Super Bowl and am recovering from surgery.
Beckham is unlikely to be ready to play until mid-season.
But after McVay listed the receivers on the roster who could benefit from increased opportunities, he couldn’t help but add a cue.
“And then we’ll keep seeing if we can keep figuring out when Odell will come back at some point as well,” he said.