Rams Adding Local Star With ‘Lively Arm’ in Depth Move: Report

Matthew Stafford

Getty Matthew Stafford on November 20, 2022 in New Orleans.

Depth was needed in the Los Angeles Rams‘ quarterback room. Turns out the Rams didn’t need to go that far to find it.

They’re adding a quarterback with ties to the city the Rams hold their practices in.

Who’s Being Added

The franchise announced on the morning of Wednesday, November 23 that they’re adding QB Case Cookus to the practice squad.

The move comes amid uncertainty regarding the health of both starter Matthew Stafford and backup John Wolford. Stafford was being evaluated with a possible concussion following the Sunday, November 20 loss to the New Orleans Saints. He’s already been placed in concussion protocol before, which prevented him from playing against the Arizona Cardinals the previous week. Wolford, meanwhile, had been dealing with a neck ailment following his November 13 start against the Cards.

Those who have followed the career of the towering 6-foot-4 Cookus are likely aware of where Cookus hails from.

Cookus Starred at Nearby High School & Went Junior College Route

Again, this move brings a local standout to the Rams in Cookus — who was raised in the town where the Rams run practice drills at.

Cookus starred at Thousand Oaks High School, located less than 10 minutes away from the Rams’ Thousand Oaks facility. According to MaxPreps, Cookus — then 6-foot-4 and 200-pounds — threw for 2,015 passing yards, tossed 19 touchdowns and was picked off just twice for the Lancers in the 2013-2014 season. But he added a runner element to the Lancer offense as well — racking up 561 yards and scoring eight touchdowns with his legs. Cookus also thrived at the prep alma mater of Denver Broncos linebacker Alex Singleton.

Cookus, though, wasn’t the most sought-after recruit and ended up trekking to the junior college realm. He wound up at Ventura College, where he was coached by former NFL wide receivers coach of the Cincinnati Bengals Steve Mooshagian. Though he didn’t have much snaps behind center in regular season games, he managed to get on board with Northern Arizona University where his QB career began to ascend — earning the 2015 Jerry Rice Award as the top freshman in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). He also went on to become a 4,000-yard passer at NAU in 2019 and tossed 31 touchdowns.

Before the NFL Draft, Cookus was described as a “small-school pocket passer with a lively arm” by nfl.com draft expert Lance Zierlein. However, Cookus battled significant injuries at NAU including a broken collarbone — which hindered his draft stock.

“But when he’s played, he’s been impressive,” Zierlein wrote. “He works with pocket twitch and has the ability to get the ball out quickly on RPOs (run pass option plays) or when pressured.”

Cookus was projected to be a priority free agent and went that route the moment he got to the league. He first signed with the New York Giants on April 28, 2020. He went on to have brief stints with the Broncos, Minnesota Vikings and Las Vegas Raiders. He also recently played in the USFL with the Philadelphia Stars during their 2022 return.

Rams’ Other Addition & Projected QB Plan

The Rams added to one more position group on Wednesday and a significant area of need: Offensive line.

Center and NFL journeyman Cole Toner was another add-on for the Rams. Toner, 28, also shares an FCS connection with Cookus as he played at Harvard University in the Ivy League.

Toner came into the league in the fifth round of the 2016 NFL Draft to the Cards. But he’s since bounced around with the Bengals, New England Patriots, L.A. Chargers and the Houston Texans in that order. The Chargers, though, was where he had his most lengthy stay from 2017 to 2020.

Meanwhile, the Rams are anticipated to have third-stringer Bryce Perkins handle first team QB reps as L.A. prepares for the Kansas City Chiefs for their Sunday, November 27 road trip. Perkins had to step in against the Saints when Stafford had to leave and also saw some RPO action against the Cards.

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