If you asked me before the game started what my thoughts were about the LA Rams backup quarterbacks, concern and anxiety would have been part of the narrative in this one. The LA Rams simply do not have a lot of NFL experience past the veteran Matthew Stafford. In fact, after Matthew Stafford, the Rams do not have another pocket passer. Stafford is solely and uniquely qualified to run this offense in the manner in which it has been designed.
As long as he’s healthy.
So it was with a bit of trepidation that I tuned in for the LA Rams’ first preseason game armed with the foreknowledge that this game would only feature Devlin “Duck” Hodges and Bryce Perkins. Now don’t get me wrong, I harbor no malice or ill intentions for either player, but they are two relatively lightly experienced quarterbacks who were directed to lead one of the most complicated offensive schemes in the NFL. And it didn’t help either quarterback to be running the complicated offensive on the backup assembly line.
There is just so much on the line for this LA Rams team, and to get where the team wants to be, this cannot be one phase of the team carrying the other two. To win it all, you need to win all phases of the game of football. That means more than winning the battle of the offense, the defense, and all of the other miscellaneous stuff that gets grouped under a special teams category.
I’m talking depth, meaningful statistics like time of possession, red zone efficiency, and defensive stops on third and fourth downs in both short-yardage and long-yardage situations. 17 games is a long season. Tack on the three or four post-season contests, and suddenly it’s quite a gauntlet. That’s why backup roles, particularly that of quarterback, cannot be a cheap kid who you hope can do the job. You want a player who doesn’t feel the pressure of big moments. You want someone who can throw a touchdown in the red zone.
Now, let’s unpack the LA Rams meeting with the LA Chargers. What did we see from the backup quarterbacks?