McVay: Whitworth, Rapp look on track to return

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81 shares, 142 points

Los Angeles Rams safety Taylor Rapp and left tackle Andrew Whitworth appear to be on track to play in Sunday’s NFC Championship Game against the visiting San Francisco 49ers, coach Sean McVay said Monday.

Rapp has yet to play in the playoffs because of a concussion he suffered in Week 18. Whitworth missed the Rams’ divisional-round win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers because of a knee injury.

McVay said Whitworth’s replacement, Joe Noteboom, “strained his pec a little bit” shortly before Matt Gay kicked a 30-yard field goal as time expired to beat Tom Brady and the defending champions, who had stormed back from a 27-3 third-quarter deficit to tie the game.

“[Noteboom] did a great job finishing out,” McVay said. “So we’ll kind of monitor his progress throughout the course of the week. Andrew Whitworth had some great treatment. Really responded well to that. He’s feeling good. I expect him to be able to practice this week and see what that looks like. And then Taylor’s really making great progress, has ramped up some of the physical activity and he’s feeling good. So both those guys look like they’re on track to be able to play on Sunday potentially.”

Whitworth, 40, hurt his right knee on the first play of the Rams’ wild-card win over the Arizona Cardinals. He played 30 of the team’s 60 offensive snaps before Noteboom replaced him for the remainder of that game.

McVay said Noteboom was “outstanding” against Tampa Bay and that he had also played well in two previous fill-in starts this season.

Against Tampa Bay, Notebook recorded a pass block win rate of 96%. Whitworth ranked third among offensive tackles during the regular season with a PBWR of 94%.

The Bucs recorded eight QB hits and two sacks on Matthew Stafford’s 40 dropbacks.

“We feel like he’s a starter,” McVay said of Noteboom. “I thought he and [right tackle Rob Havenstein] both did an outstanding job for the amount of times and some of the stress we put on them, with the amount of dropbacks that we did have in that game. And to be able to hold up against that rush was instrumental in us being able to win. Was really pleased with Joe yesterday.”

Linebacker Ernest Jones is the only player among those the Rams recently designated for a return to practice off injured reserve who has a chance to play against San Francisco, McVay said.

Rapp’s absence as well as the season-ending ankle injury that Jordan Fuller suffered in Week 18 have forced the Rams to play without both of their starting safeties in the team’s two playoff games. Nick Scott, who has filled in as one of the starters, intercepted Brady late in the first half Sunday.

Terrell Burgess again started opposite Scott but was out-snapped 61 to 14 by veteran Eric Weddle, who came out of his two-year retirement in light of the Rapp and Fuller injuries.

Source: ESPN

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