THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — There will be no mystery leading up to kickoff regarding who will start at quarterback for the Los Angeles Rams in an NFC divisional-round playoff game against the Green Bay Packers on Saturday.
Quarterback John Wolford has been ruled out because of a neck injury, so Jared Goff will start, coach Sean McVay said Thursday. Blake Bortles will serve as backup.
McVay expressed disappointment that Wolford was unable to compete at practice this week, but the coach said Goff is making progress while recovering from surgery that he had on the thumb of his throwing hand on Dec. 28.
“When you watch him throw last week to this week, it is definitely trending in the right direction,” McVay said. “It looks like the Jared that we’re accustomed to who has always been a natural thrower of the football.”
Said Goff: “It continues to get better. I think it feels good. I’m in a good place with it. Over time, just over and over hitting it, there is a slight soreness, but nothing that’s hindering me in any way. I think overall it’s progressing in the right way.”
Goff wore gloves during at least a portion of the Rams’ two practices this week and is considering wearing them Saturday with forecasted temperatures near freezing in Green Bay.
“We’ll see when I get there on game day and just wanted to get some reps with it,” Goff said. “At times, it can help with grip. Just grip on the ball if it’s cold or windy or something.”
Before Thursday, McVay had been coy about his team’s quarterback situation. He didn’t announce a starter for last week’s game until just before kickoff.
Packers coach Matt LaFleur told reporters Thursday that the decision to start Goff wouldn’t affect their game plan “too much.”
“I think there may be a few things,” said LaFleur, who was Goff’s offensive coordinator in L.A. in 2017. “… I think we were pretty much preparing for Jared all week, so it doesn’t change too much.”
Wolford started the wild-card game against the Seattle Seahawks but exited in the first quarter after he took a blow to his head and neck. He was transported to the hospital as a precautionary measure during the game but returned to Lumen Field in time to participate in the Rams’ locker room celebration after the 30-20 win.
McVay described Wolford’s injury as a “stinger.”
Goff replaced Wolford and completed 9 of 19 passes for 155 yards, and he said after the game that it was tough when McVay told him Wolford would start.
“As a competitor, of course I wanted to be out there and I wanted to play and felt like I could make a difference,” Goff said. “He’s the coach. He had to make a decision that he needed to make early in the week to get out in front of some stuff. I get it. But as a competitor, of course I wanted to play and I was ready to play.”
ESPN’s Rob Demovsky contributed to this report.