Rams News: Ronnie Rivers Designated For Return To Practice From Injured Reserve
Ronnie Rivers, Rams
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Rams have announced that running back Ronnie Rivers has been designated for a return to practice from injured reserve, opening a 21-day window for him to return to the active roster. Rivers has been out since Week 6 with a Grade 3 PCL sprain.

Rivers had settled in to a steady spot in the depth chart as the backup running back behind Kyren Williams. Rivers, the second-year player out of Fresno State, had largely played with the special teams unit for the first six weeks, but was serviceable behind Williams when called upon.

When Williams and Rivers both suffered injuries in the Rams Week 6 win over the Arizona Cardinals, it was clear that Rivers would need significantly more time to recover, as he was almost immediately placed on IR and head coach Sean McVay was noncommittal on whether or not he would need more than the minimum four weeks before returning.

All told, Rivers has now missed eight games and could miss even more, as he has only been designated for a return to practice and has not yet been moved to the active roster. PCL sprains are a serious injury and the Rams did not want to rush him back unnecessarily.

The Rams are 4-4 in Rivers’ absence, but have won four of their last five and have won three of four since getting Williams back into the lineup as the lead running back. In the meantime, Royce Freeman has picked up the slack as the backup on the depth chart.

But when Rivers eventually makes his return to the field, the Rams will finally have the running back duo that they intended to have after trading Cam Akers in the early stages of the 2023 season.

McVay takes blame for redzone struggles

On offense, the Rams struggled in the red zone against the Washington Commanders, finding pay dirt in just one of three attempts in goal-to-go situations.

The Rams rank 10th in the NFL in red zone touchdowns, finding the end zone 60.5% of the time.

The last couple weeks have been a struggle, though, and head coach Sean McVay took the blame for his play-calling.

“Yeah, the main thing that I was really pissed off about myself was the first down and five call on the first drive of the game,” McVay said. “There are always going to be some things that you can get into, but we had run it really well on the previous play. We had run it really well on that drive. When you take a negative right there, didn’t need to do that. I thought that was a really poor play call that set us behind the sticks. There are a lot of instances of things that you can always do better, but I thought that first sequence in particular that we ended up having to settle for a field goal, the way that our guys were playing, the way we were able to run it, the way (QB) Matthew (Stafford) was seeing the field, thought it was a much better opportunity to… I could have put them in a better spot that I think would’ve led to seven instead of three.”