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In late stretch, Rams will rely on playoff-tested veterans like Andrew Whitworth

By in Press Enterprise on December 7, 2017

By Rich Hammond

THOUSAND OAKS — It’s December, which in the Rams’ locker room typically has represented a time to book that ski lodge or that flight to Cabo San Lucas. Now, all eyes are on something new: the playoffs.

Of the Rams’ 22 offensive and defensive starters, only four – linemen Andrew Whitworth and John Sullivan, linebacker Connor Barwin and cornerback Kayvon Webster – have been to the postseason. Now, with the Rams about to embark on a season-defining stretch, it’s time to rely on those guys.

Sunday’s game against Philadelphia at the Coliseum features two division leaders and the NFL’s highest-scoring teams. It’s uncharted territory for most of the Rams, including their coach, who has been a part of only two playoff games, but it’s nothing to fear, according to their most-veteran player.

“You play this game for these big moments,” said Whitworth, the first-year Ram who made the playoffs six times in 11 seasons with Cincinnati. “The approach is to be excited about them, and not being worried about them. Be excited about those opportunities that you’ve worked a long time for.”

The message from Coach Sean McVay seems to be: don’t change anything. The Rams’ narrow-focus approach has carried them to a 9-3 record and the top of the NFC West, and even though another top team, the 10-2 Eagles, are coming to town, the Rams aren’t attempting to do anything different.

Except they were forced to on Wednesday, because of air quality from the fires in Southern California. The Rams decided to cancel their normal afternoon practice at Cal Lutheran and instead held only their normal morning walk-through practice, which they held at an on-campus gym.

Professional athletes are notorious creatures of habit, but McVay said he didn’t feel concerned about the change in routine, and said he saw it as a positive to […]    

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