Rookie quarterback Jared Goff is expected to start for the Los Angeles Rams on Saturday after clearing the NFL’s concussion protocol.
Interim coach John Fassel said Thursday that Goff will start for the Rams (4-10) against the San Francisco 49ers (1-13). Sean Mannion will replace Case Keenum as Goff’s backup, the coach also announced.
Goff participated fully in the Rams’ past two practices. The No. 1 pick in last spring’s draft claims he felt no ill effects from a hard hit from Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman last week.
“I felt fine,” Goff said. “He hit me in the head, but I was fine. It was just a regular hit. I got up, went back to the huddle. I heard the official blow the whistle, and they’re like, ‘You have to get off the field.’ I’m like, ‘Why?’ ”
Goff got leveled by Sherman at the end of a 15-yard run in the Rams’ 24-3 loss at Seattle last Thursday.
“If I had seen him, I probably would have gone out of bounds,” Goff said. “I didn’t see him. He kind of came out of nowhere. He made a hell of a play. After watching it on film, he came all the way from the other side of the field.”
Goff still hasn’t won in his five career starts for the Rams, who have lost five straight and nine of 10.
The rookie has been beaten up in his brief career, getting sacked 14 times in the last four games behind the Rams’ struggling offensive line. He has completed only 54.7 percent of his passes with five interceptions and four touchdowns.
Fassel said Goff realizes he needs to be more careful, particularly when running the ball.
“I do need to protect myself a little better, and try to balance the going-for-its and protecting my body,” Goff said.
Goff grew up in the Bay Area rooting for the 49ers, but he didn’t get to play in the Rams’ season-opening loss in Santa Clara.
Mannion has been promoted from the No. 3 role to allow the Rams to get a look at the former third-round pick before the season ends. The Oregon State product and fellow Bay Area native saw the only playing experience of his two-year NFL career last season in a game against Cincinnati.
The Rams haven’t had a winning season since 2003 or made the playoffs since 2004.
Newton claims Kuechly should rest
Cam Newton said it makes no sense for the Panthers to play three-time All-Pro middle linebacker Luke Kuechly the remainder of the season following his second concussion in two years.
Newton said with Carolina’s chances of making the playoffs being “minimal,” Kuechly should to rest and prepare for future seasons when the team has a realistic chance to make the postseason. The Panthers (6-8) host the Atlanta Falcons on Saturday and close the regular season at Tampa Bay on Jan. 1.
“Luke is a person that could potentially to be the greatest linebacker that has ever played – straight up,” Newton said. “… I don’t think, for me, I would want to jeopardize that for a long, long-term issue just to bring him back.”
Floyd hopes to learn from mistakes
New Patriots receiver Michael Floyd said he’s trying to learn from his mistakes following an arrest on charges of driving under the influence earlier this month that led to him being waived by the Arizona Cardinals.
In his first comments since being claimed off waivers by New England, Floyd said he’s trying not to think about the Dec. 12 incident in Scottsdale, Arizona, in which he was found asleep behind the wheel of his SUV with a blood-alcohol level nearly three times the legal limit.
Arizona’s legal limit for alcohol is .08; A police report revealed Floyd’s blood-alcohol level was measured at .217.
Hall milestone reached
A landmark stat for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio – its 10 millionth visitor.
The threshold was crossed when 15-year-old Tyler Susee of Salem, Oregon, entered the doors and was greeted by the Hall’s staff.
He received an assortment of gifts, including lodging and tickets to the 2017 Hall of Fame Game. The teenager called it “awesome.”
He and his parents are heading to Pittsburgh to watch the Christmas Day game between the Steelers and Baltimore Ravens.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame opened in 1963. Ten years later, it reached its 1 millionth visitor.
Around the league
New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. has been fined $18,000 by the NFL for wearing unapproved cleats against Detroit, two people familiar with the fine reported. … Cleveland Browns two-time Pro Bowl cornerback Joe Haden revealed he has been playing despite two groin injuries and will have offseason surgery. … Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews said that his left shoulder injury is improving, and that he hopes to get more snaps in Saturday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings.
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