McVay not answering questions on quarterbacks

  • Covered Rams for two years for Los Angeles Times
  • Previously covered the Falcons
  • Has covered the NBA and college football and basketball

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay has no intention of revealing before kickoff whether Jared Goff or John Wolford will start at quarterback in Saturday’s wild-card playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks.

“I’m not gonna make an announcement on who is starting and who is not,” McVay said tersely during a videoconference with reporters Tuesday. “I’m not going to answer that question this week.”

McVay did say that he anticipates wide receiver Cooper Kupp and defensive lineman Michael Brockers to be activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list ahead of Saturday, and that there’s a good chance that left tackle Andrew Whitworth, who tore his medial collateral ligament and posterior cruciate ligament in Week 10, will be activated from injured reserve.

As the Rams prepare for their third playoff appearance in four seasons, Goff is continuing to recover from surgery on his throwing-hand thumb that he underwent a day after a Week 16 loss to the division-champion Seahawks at Lumen Field.

In the immediate aftermath of Goff’s surgery, McVay expressed confidence that the procedure would allow him to return for the playoffs, but on Tuesday, McVay amended that statement.

“What I probably should have said is there’s a possibility that he could be ready to go as early as if we were able to make the playoffs,” McVay said. “Didn’t know the totality of what the rehab entailed.”

McVay said Goff has “thrown a couple balls” but was unable to provide an update on whether the quarterback has taken any snaps. “He’s coming along well,” McVay said. “He did just have surgery pretty recently, so I know he’s doing everything in his power to get himself ready to go.”

When asked if he had a timetable to determine if Goff could play, McVay quipped: “Yeah, Saturday at 1:39.”

Kickoff is scheduled for 1:40 p.m. PT.

Wolford made his NFL debut Sunday in Goff’s absence and earned his first NFL victory, over the Arizona Cardinals, which clinched a playoff spot for the Rams. Wolford passed for 231 yards, with an interception, and rushed for 56 yards on six carries.

“I did like a lot of the things that he did the other day and so that gives you some flexibility with how you handle this week, but feel good about having two guys,” McVay said. “How much Jared is able to do this week and how that thing feels will definitely go into how we handle the rest of the week and what it looks like for Saturday.”

Sunday marked the first meaningful game in Goff’s five seasons that he has not been available. In 15 games this season, Goff has passed for 3,952 yards and 20 touchdowns, but was responsible for 17 of the Rams’ 25 turnovers.

McVay squashed any notion of a quarterback controversy when asked whom he would start if both were equally healthy and if he would lean toward Goff because of his experience.

“Jared is our starting quarterback and the reality is that he had a thumb surgery,” McVay said. “We’re monitoring that every single day and that’s something that we’re taking a day at a time, but the anticipation is that both those guys are getting themselves ready to go.”

McVay did not rule out the possibility that both Goff and Wolford could play Saturday.

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