THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — Things didn’t go well for the Los Angeles Rams after left tackle Alaric Jackson hurt his hamstring in a loss at the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday night.
As they prepare to play at Indianapolis on Sunday, the Rams are preparing contingency plans if Jackson cannot play.
The Rams (1-2) held a walkthrough Wednesday instead of practicing because of the quick turnaround, but coach Sean McVay estimated that Jackson would not have been able to participate.
As far as Jackson’s chances to play this week, McVay would not speculate.
“I think we’re going to find that out, so we’re taking that a day at a time,” McVay said. “He’s feeling good and I know that’s what he’s hoping for, and that’s certainly what we’re hoping for too.”
Zachary Thomas, a second-year player from San Diego State, replaced Jackson. It was a struggle as the Rams gave up five sacks in the second half, with Thomas apparently at fault on at least two of those plays.
“He came in and competed the best that he could, but there were certainly some challenges as I think we all saw,” McVay said of Thomas’ performance.
A sixth-round pick by the Chicago Bears in 2022, Thomas had played one offensive snap in the NFL prior to Monday. He admitted that going up against Bengals defensive end Trey Hendrickson, who had two sacks, was eye-opening.
“He was probably the first true speed rush I’ve ever had to go against in a game,” Thomas said. “Watching him on film, and shouldn’t say I’ve grown up watching him, but over the past few years just seeing what he’s done, it’s kind of unreal to just get on the field and just get in my stance and look up at him. It’s insane.”
Thomas thinks he will be better prepared if called on to play against the Colts. He pointed to the difference a full week’s worth of preparation can make.
“I mean, just being able to like actually get in the walkthroughs and all the practice reps and stuff,” Thomas said. “The past couple of weeks, I’ve been doing like practice squad stuff, which is great for training like physical stuff. But as far as running plays and stuff, it will have a lot more impact just getting to be in the huddle.”
The other option if Jackson is unavailable would be moving right guard Joe Noteboom.
McVay said Monday he decided against moving Noteboom outside because it would have meant changing two positions during the game.
Asked to expand on that decision-making process Wednesday, McVay acknowledged with hindsight it would have made sense to turn to the more experienced Noteboom against Hendrickson and Cincinnati.
“I’m not going to pretend to be perfect, but I will learn from those things and we’ll make better decisions if we feel like those are applicable,” McVay said.
There could be relief coming for the Rams' offense elsewhere. Wide receiver Cooper Kupp will be eligible come off injured reserve next week.
McVay hopes to have Kupp, who injured a hamstring in training camp, return to practice and start the 21-day window to put him on the active roster.
“We want him to be able to return to performance at the level that he’s capable of and so we’re continuing to take it a day at a time,” McVay said.
NOTES: TE Tyler Higbee would not have practiced Wednesday because of an Achilles tendon injury.