By Cedric Williams
With a roster full of coaches and players, most of whom are experiencing their first ever trip to the NFL playoffs, the Los Angeles Rams began their practice week by receiving some good news on Wednesday.
Several players who were nursing injuries significant enough to have coaches worried about their availability for this weekend were able to participate in practice. And because of that participation, however limited they may have been, Rams coaches now seem to believe that just about all of their players will be available for Saturday’s NFC Wild Card game against the Atlanta Falcons at The Coliseum.
Two of the players in question were key Rams defensive starters: Mark Barron and Troy Hill. Barron has been nursing a sore Achilles and hasn’t been a full practice participant in nearly two weeks. On Wednesday, head coach Sean McVay said that “things are looking good for him” when asked about the possibility of Barron playing on Sunday.
And Hill, who would be a key figure in trying to help the Rams contain Atlanta’s vaunted wide receiver duo of Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu, took a blow to the head last week but was found to not have a concussion, which makes him likely to play Sunday.
The only two players who didn’t practice on Wednesday were wide receiver Michael Thomas and kick return specialist Pharoh Cooper. Thomas has an ankle injury and Cooper has a sore shoulder.
McVay didn’t comment on Thomas, but he did share his thoughts on Wednesday about the likelihood that Cooper would play Sunday.
“Because [Cooper] is so important and such an intricate part of what we’re going to try to do, he’s on track to play,” McVay said. “You just want to be smart with him where when you do a little bit slowed down version of some of the special teams he’s able to take part in. But we fully anticipate Pharoh being ready to go and I think he’d tell you the same thing.”
Down in Atlanta, wide receiver/kick returner Andre Roberts, who has a sore knee and ankle, was the only Falcon who did not participate in the team’s practice session on Wednesday.