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Higbee ruled out for Sunday, Donald questionable

Week 3 Final Injury Report: Higbee ruled out for Sunday, Donald questionable

Stu Jackson

STAFF WRITER


The Los Angeles Rams will be without starting TE Tyler Higbee on Sunday against the Cleveland Browns, while DT Aaron Donald and RG Austin Blythe are listed as questionable.

Higbee sustained a chest injury in last week's home opener against the Saints which prevented him from participating in practice this week. Blythe, who injured his ankle on the same play as Higbee in the same game, did not participate Wednesday and Thursday but was able to log limited participation on Friday.

"Hopefully we'll be able to get (Higbee) back next week," Rams head coach Sean McVay said. "With Austin and Aaron, (they) will be listed as questionable. Aaron's feeling good, probably just more semantics than anything else."

McVay said "there's a chance" Blythe plays, depending on if the swelling around his ankle goes down and if Blythe feels good enough.

"Really, it's just a matter of thinking through, ok, who is going to be that 44th, 45th, 46th guy (on the active roster) that you want to use up," McVay said. "If he's feeling good enough to do that, we may go in that direction, but we're going to use the time that we have (to make that decision)."

Donald, meanwhile, gave a strong indication that he will be playing on Sunday despite his current status.

"I feel good," Donald said. "100 percent (I'll be out there)."


Meanwhile, the Browns ruled out three starters in advance of Sunday's game – LB Christian Kirksey (chest), TE David Njoku (concussion/wrist) and safety Damarious Randall (concussion) – as well as tackle Kendall Lamm. Safety Morgan Burnett (quadriceps), cornerbacks Denzel Ward (hamstring) and Greedy Williams (hamstring), WR Rashard Higgins (knee), RT Chris Hubbard (foot) and DE Chris Smith (personal) are questionable.

Below is the full injury reports for the Rams:
OL Austin Blythe Ankle DNP DNP Limited Questionable
TE Tyler Higbee Chest DNP DNP DNP Out
RB Malcolm Brown Ankle Limited Full Full
...
 

Rams Pro Football Focus

Rams Pro Football Focus tidbits heading into Week 3

Pro Football Focus (PFF) has a team of more than 300 staffers evaluating every NFL play from the Hall of Fame game to the Super Bowl. After each game, players, as well as each team's offensive, defensive and special teams units, are graded on a scale of 0 to 100; the closer a player or unit is to 100, the better. A full explanation of their evaluation process can be found here for additional context.

Here's a look at some of the noteworthy Rams-centric assessments based on PFF's evaluations through the first two weeks of the season.
GOFF IS SHARP OVER THE MIDDLE, PERFORMING BETTER AGAINST BLITZES

PFF breaks up its passing direction charts in three parts: Outside Left, Between Numbers and Outside Right. Between Numbers, or the middle of the field, is where Rams QB Jared Goff has had the most success.

According to PFF, Goff has completed 25 of 34 passes between the numbers, good for a completion percentage of 73.5. He was 13 of 17 in the same category against the Saints.

Goff also fared better against the blitz in Week 2 with a passing grade of 82.7 in that category compared to 57.7 in Week 1. He was 6 for 6 and gained 120 of his 283 passing yards when New Orleans blitzed last Sunday.


IF HIGBEE IS UNAVAILABLE, EVERETT SHOULD HAVE NO TROUBLE FILLING IN

Head coach Sean McVay said earlier this month that versatility at the tight end position is critical to what the Rams want to do on offense. Tight ends must make plays in the pass game, be able to compete on the line of scrimmage in the run game and do some different things in terms of protection. Tyler Higbee's ability do those things on all three downs is what makes him valuable to that unit, according to McVay.

Higbee, L.A.'s starting tight end, is currently day-to-day with a lung contusion. If he is unable to play against the Rams, Pro Football Focus' recent evaluations suggest Gerald Everett will be able to seamlessly take his place.

Everett graded out as the Rams' second-best pass-blocker and run-blocker against the Saints. He also posted the second-highest offensive grade out of the eight L.A. receivers targeted by Goff.

RAPP LIVING UP TO REPUTATION AS A RELIABLE TACKLER


Leading into the season-opener at Carolina, L.A. defensive coordinator Wade Phillips said safety Taylor Rapp is proving to be exactly the player the club thought he was when they chose him in the second round in this year's draft, praising his short-area quickness and tackling ability.

Both have been on display through the first two weeks of the season.

Rapp posted the fifth-best tackling grade of any Rams defensive player in Week 1, then followed it up with the third-highest mark in Week 2. He's also had the fourth-best coverage grade in each of Los Angeles' first two games.

The Rams...
 

Week 3 Predictions Rams V Browns

The 2-0 Rams travel to Cleveland to play the 1-1 Browns on Football Sunday night. This is the first of what appears to be 5 National showings for our Rams. These teams have met sparingly over the course of their collective storied NFL existence. The Rams lead the series 12-11 but this is only the fifth time they will have met this century. I am looking for Beckham to be held under wraps by our secondary. Our road warriors will prevail ……..


Rams 34
Browns 16

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2018 NFC West Standings

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NFC
W
L
T
Pct
PF
PA
Net Pts
Home
Away
Div
Conf
Strk
RAMS
2
0
0
1.000
57
36
+21
1
1
0
2
W2
HAWKS
2
0
0
1.000
49
46
+3
1
1
0
0
W2
WHINERS
2
0
0
1.000
72
34
+38
0
2
0
1
W2
CARDS
0
1
1
0.250
44
50
-6
0
0
0
0
L1
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