Colt McCoy and John Wolford very well could end up squaring off Sunday in a battle of backup quarterbacks thrust into starting roles. But before that becomes official, the Arizona Cardinals and Los Angeles Rams would like to give their starters a final chance to see if they can play.
Cardinals sources told ESPN the team does not expect to decide whether Kyler Murray will start against the Rams until they see him in pregame warm-ups and determine how well he can move. But McCoy is the Cardinals’ likely starter, a source told ESPN.
A source told ESPN that friends of McCoy’s called the Rams on Saturday night to purchase “a bunch of tickets” to Sunday’s game in Los Angeles.
“He’s improved,” one Cardinals source said of Murray, who is listed as questionable with a hamstring injury. “But [he] needs to be able to open up and run before the game to get the green light.” Another source described Murray’s chances of playing at “50-50,” adding that the decision will be “based on how he feels and can move in pregame.”
On the other side of this NFC West showdown, Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford will need to clear concussion protocol — which he has not yet done — on Sunday morning to be able to play, according to league sources.
The Rams have been preparing as if they will start Wolford, even as Stafford has shown signs of improvement from his concussion symptoms throughout the week, according to sources. The Rams’ goal is to give Stafford as much time as possible to complete the necessary steps to clear the protocol sometime Sunday morning, according to sources.
Stafford was placed in the concussion protocol on Tuesday, and he is officially listed as questionable against the Cardinals. Rams coach Sean McVay said Friday that Stafford is “making good progress and steady progression.”
If Stafford is not cleared Sunday morning, Wolford would start and be backed up by Bryce Perkins, a 2020 undrafted free agent whom the Rams think highly of.
Los Angeles will see the return of running back Kyren Williams, who was activated off injured reserve on Saturday and will play Sunday, according to a source. Williams will be used with Darrell Henderson Jr. and Cam Akers to help upgrade the Rams’ rushing attack.
McCoy, 36, started three games last season when Murray was sidelined with an ankle injury, leading Arizona to a 2-1 record in those contests. McCoy has started 33 games over his 13-year NFL career.
Wolford, 27, appeared in three games with the Rams last season, but he has not started since the Rams’ 2020 regular-season finale and their wild-card victory over the Seattle Seahawks.