THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) — Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay had never considered the possibility of losing starting cornerbacks Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters in the same game.
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It happened in the Rams’ 35-23 win over the Chargers on Sunday, and Los Angeles could be without both Talib and Peters against Minnesota on Thursday night.
Talib could miss a significant amount of time and will likely need surgery to repair an ankle injury he sustained in the second half, McVay said Monday.
“He is going to get a second opinion tomorrow, but more than likely he’s going to have something that will probably require surgery. But hopefully we’ll get him back in some point in time, and he’ll handle it the right way and do everything he can to get back sooner than later,” McVay said.
A 2016 All-Pro and five-time Pro Bowler who was acquired in a trade with Denver for a fifth-round pick in the offseason, Talib has six tackles and two passes defended for a Rams defense that has allowed a league-low 12 points per game.
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Los Angeles has allowed two touchdown passes through its first three games.
A decision on whether to place Talib on injured reserve would come once there is more information available and a course of treatment is determined, McVay said. The Rams would be able to activate Talib eight weeks after placing him on injured reserve.
“There’s a couple different layers to it, but if we did do something like that, he’s certainly a guy that we would definitely want to be able to bring back at some point,” McVay said.
McVay said the Rams caught a break regarding the severity of the calf injury Peters sustained in the second quarter. Peters is day to day and could play against the Vikings, but McVay would not say if he would ask Peters to play if the fourth-year cornerback feels less than 100 percent.
“Anytime you’re talking about a player reliant on short-space quickness, lateral agility, those different types of things, we’ll see how he feels on Thursday to be able to play at the level we’re accustomed to seeing Marcus play at,” McVay said.
The injuries to Talib and Peters, who was acquired from Kansas City for a fourth-round pick and 2019 second-round pick, left the Rams with three cornerbacks available to close out the game against the Chargers in backups Sam Shields and Troy Hill and slot corner Nickell Robey-Coleman.
McVay was pleased with how Shields and Hill played in relief, especially after getting limited reps in practice to prepare for the Chargers’ multiple personnel packages and formations. Shields had a key pass breakup in the fourth quarter, and Hill’s previous game experience was evident, McVay said.
“When we had to tighten up, I thought those guys did a nice job,” McVay said. “To be able to step in on short notice, ultimately they were their best at the end of the game when we had to be and I thought that was good.”.
If Shields and Hill have to start this week, they would again have to make use of limited practice because of the brief turnaround before playing the Vikings. McVay plans to use an approach similar to what the Rams did on a short week going into their 41-39 win at San Francisco last season, which minimized physical work and instead featured practices that were more like walk-throughs intended to keep the team fresh.
“This is the hand that we’re dealt, and all we can do is handle it to the best of our ability. And that’s getting guys ready to go, demonstrating that confidence and a belief in those guys,” McVay said. “Making sure that, especially in this week, they get themselves ready to go really from a mental standpoint.”.
NOTES: Return specialist JoJo Natson will not play against Minnesota after undergoing surgery to repair his broken left hand. Safety Blake Countess will return kicks and wide receiver Cooper Kupp will return punts, McVay said.
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