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Baker Mayfield could make Los Angeles Rams debut on Thursday night against Las Vegas Raiders


Baker Mayfield was claimed off waivers by the Los Angeles Rams this week after his release from the Carolina Panthers

Baker Mayfield could be in line to make his Los Angeles Rams debut on Thursday night against the Las Vegas Raiders, though the newly-signed QB will only start if John Wolford’s persistent neck injury forces him out of action.

Rams head coach Sean McVay confirmed that Mayfield will be ‘active’ for the home game against the Raiders, but admitted it would be “unprecedented” for the former Cleveland Browns and Carolina Panthers quarterback to play – just two days after he was claimed off waivers.

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McVay told reporters: “Whether or not he [Mayfield] would play or be available in an emergency setting is something that we’re going to continue to work through.

“It would be unprecedented from my experiences, because of everything that a quarterback is asked to do, to bring him in in such a short period of time and have him go out there.

“But I do think that he’d be capable of it if we asked.”

DK Metcalf came up clutch for his team, beating the coverage of Pro-Bowl cornerback Jalen Ramsey for the game-winning grab as the Seattle Seahawks beat the Los Angeles Rams late.

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DK Metcalf came up clutch for his team, beating the coverage of Pro-Bowl cornerback Jalen Ramsey for the game-winning grab as the Seattle Seahawks beat the Los Angeles Rams late.

DK Metcalf came up clutch for his team, beating the coverage of Pro-Bowl cornerback Jalen Ramsey for the game-winning grab as the Seattle Seahawks beat the Los Angeles Rams late.

The defending Super Bowl-champion Rams (3-9) are in the midst of a six-game losing streak, with their squad beset by injuries – and particularly at quarterback.

Starting QB Matthew Stafford (neck) and star receiver Cooper Kupp (ankle) have both been placed on injured reserve with long-term issues and could be done for the season, while three-time Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald (ankle) is expected to miss a second-straight game on Thursday night.

Los Angeles Rams starting quarterback Matthew Stafford has been placed on injured reserve due to spinal cord contusion

Los Angeles Rams starting quarterback Matthew Stafford has been placed on injured reserve due to spinal cord contusion

Backup QB Wolford is listed as ‘questionable’ with a neck injury. If he’s unable to go, Mayfield and third-stringer Bryce Perkins will be the only healthy players available to the Rams under center.

Wolford has gone winless in two starts this season, with a completion percentage of 61.3, 390 passing yards, one TD and three interceptions. Perkins received a solitary start in Week 12 against the Kansas City Chiefs, completing 13 of 23 passes for 100 yards, one TD and two picks.

McVay: Mayfield ‘a natural thrower’

Mayfield arrived in Los Angeles on Tuesday night after asking for his release from the Panthers, having fallen to third choice on their QB depth chart behind starter Sam Darnold and backup PJ Walker.

Mayfield, the No 1 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, was a disappointing 1-5 as a starter in Carolina this season following his trade from the Browns in the summer. The 27-year-old completed just 57.8 per cent of his passes, with six touchdowns to the same number of interceptions.

Baker Mayfield celebrates wildly after running in a seven-yard touchdown against his former team the Cleveland Browns on the opening week of the season.

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Baker Mayfield celebrates wildly after running in a seven-yard touchdown against his former team the Cleveland Browns on the opening week of the season.

Baker Mayfield celebrates wildly after running in a seven-yard touchdown against his former team the Cleveland Browns on the opening week of the season.

The Rams were, according to reports, the only one of the NFL’s 32 teams to put in a waiver claim for Mayfield following his release, despite speculation that their NFC West rivals, the San Francisco 49ers, might also be interested after losing their starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to injury on Sunday.

McVay, who declared himself a fan of Mayfield’s talents for many years, said: “He’s a natural thrower. I’ve always really liked him.

“There’s a lot of things, whether it be in Cleveland or even in Carolina, that he’s been asked to do that are very similar concepts, (with) carry-over to what we’ve been able to do, and some of the things that we have as foundational parts of our offense.”

The Cleveland Browns traded away Baker Bayfield in the offseason after the controversial signing of Deshaun Watson from the Houston Texans

The Cleveland Browns traded away Baker Bayfield in the offseason after the controversial signing of Deshaun Watson from the Houston Texans

When asked whether there was a possibility that Mayfield could have a long-term future in Los Angeles, McVay said: “I think as we continue to accumulate [information about Mayfield], that will kind of answer itself.

“What I can say is there’s an excitement about being able to work with him for what we know is five more weeks, and whether he plays in five games or four games is to be determined, but I’m excited about that.”

Adams: Raiders playing ‘better brand of football’

While the Rams currently find themselves in the midst of the record-worst season by a defending champion in NFL history, the Raiders (5-7) are seemingly headed in the opposite direction. After a dreadful 2-7 start to their campaign, they have won three straight coming into Thursday’s clash.

Highlights of the Los Angeles Chargers against the Las Vegas Raiders from Week 13 of the NFL season.

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Highlights of the Los Angeles Chargers against the Las Vegas Raiders from Week 13 of the NFL season.

Highlights of the Los Angeles Chargers against the Las Vegas Raiders from Week 13 of the NFL season.

Looking to make it four in a row, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr said ahead of the game: “Because of the way that we didn’t win certain games early on in the season, every next game is the most important.

“Defending champs, stars all over the field on their side of the football, so it’s a tough challenge for us, but it’s what I’m excited about. Our fans usually travel well to LA, so I’m also excited about that.”

The Raiders’ turnaround has been built largely upon the success of their offense, with star receiver Davante Adams logging 41 catches for 664 yards and seven touchdowns over their past five games, while running back Josh Jacobs has rushed for 482 yards (5.81 yards per attempt) and three TDs during the three-game win streak.

Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Davante Adams makes his second incredible one-handed catch in as many weeks, this one for a TD in the Week 13 win over the Los Angeles Chargers.

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Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Davante Adams makes his second incredible one-handed catch in as many weeks, this one for a TD in the Week 13 win over the Los Angeles Chargers.

Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Davante Adams makes his second incredible one-handed catch in as many weeks, this one for a TD in the Week 13 win over the Los Angeles Chargers.

The Raiders are 5-1 when Jacobs gains 100 yards or more. And with 1,303 rushing yards on the season already, he is just 457 away from breaking Marcus Allen’s franchise record set in 1985. Jacobs also has 10 rushing TDs, five away from surpassing Pete Banaszak’s Raiders record mark set in 1975.

“I think [the offensive line] believes in me like I believe in them,” Jacobs said this week. “I encourage them guys all the time. I’m their biggest advocate.

“Even when they do bad, I tell them I believe in them. You can tell they lay it out on the line for me and that’s a great feeling to have.”

Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs goes 86 yards for a walk-off TD run in overtime to beat the Seattle Seahawks in Week 12.

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Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs goes 86 yards for a walk-off TD run in overtime to beat the Seattle Seahawks in Week 12.

Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs goes 86 yards for a walk-off TD run in overtime to beat the Seattle Seahawks in Week 12.

Adams said of the team’s recent success: “We’re definitely playing a better brand of football right now. [It’s] complementary.

“When the offense isn’t doing great, the defense goes out there to do their job and they hold teams to no scoring or stopping [opponents] in critical moments.”

Watch Las Vegas Raiders @ Los Angeles Rams on Thursday Night Football, live on Sky Sports NFL from 1.15am in the early hours of Friday morning.



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