Bryce Perkins’ valiant performance vs. Raiders gives Rams plenty to think about

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Just about anyone who watched the Rams’ loss to the Raiders came away thinking one thing: Bryce Perkins can play. The second-year quarterback out of Virginia showed a ton of poise, potential and playmaking ability on Saturday night, his first extensive action in the NFL.

He played the entire game for the Rams after taking just 22 snaps last week against the Chargers, which was a show of confidence from the coaching staff. Sean McVay even said after the game that the original plan wasn’t for Perkins to get every snap. It was the quarterback’s play that influenced McVay’s decision, letting him build a rhythm with the backup offense.

“Just based on the flow of the game, there was just some different opportunities,” McVay said. “You want him to respond back from the interception. He kind of got some good momentum, you wanted him to start the second half. So that wasn’t necessarily the plan, we just kind of had a feel for it during the course of the game, wanting to give him that opportunity and we’ll see what that looks like for next week.”

It’s a good thing the Rams kept Perkins in there because not only did he earn the extended playing time, but he nearly led the Rams to a comeback win in the fourth quarter. He completed 26 of 39 passes for 208 yards and two touchdowns, with his only glaring mistake being a deep pass into triple coverage intended for Tutu Atwell.

He added 41 yards rushing on nine carries, the best of which was a heroic scramble on fourth down to pick up the first and keep the Rams’ final drive alive.

Two plays later, Perkins hit Jacob Harris for a touchdown to make it 17-16, but the Rams weren’t going to play for the tie. McVay wanted to go for two, and Kevin O’Connell once again dialed up the Perkins-Harris connection for the third time on the drive.

Perkins’ pass fell incomplete, though, unable to hook up with Harris for a game-winning two-point conversion.

But despite the result, Perkins’ performance gives the Rams a lot to think about. With the way he’s played in the preseason, it might be hard to cut him – not because the Rams need a third-string quarterback on the 53-man roster, but because there’s a decent chance they’ll lose him on the waiver wire.

McVay talked about his performance against the Raiders after the game, coming away impressed with the way the former Virginia Cavalier played.

“It’s exciting,” the coach said. “I thought he did a really good job, too, of being able to create off-schedule, but also on-schedule. You look at the touchdown pass earlier in the game to Kendall Blanton, being able to work through a progression. So I thought you saw a lot of really good things from him. A lot of opportunities to evaluate a lot of things for him to be able to learn from, but I was really pleased with just his poise, his command and composure throughout the course of the game tonight.”

Sneaking Perkins onto the practice squad would be ideal, giving him another year to learn from McVay, O’Connell, Matthew Stafford and John Wolford. But if he’s cut and claimed off waivers, the Rams will lose him without the chance to sign him to the practice squad.

He’s not going to overtake Wolford for the backup job, but he’s clearly cemented his place as QB3 ahead of Duck Hodges, who didn’t take the field for a single snap against the Raiders. And while it’s fantastic to see Perkins play so well, this exposure might cost the Rams the chance to add him to the practice squad when final cuts are made.

So do they keep three quarterbacks out of fear of another team claiming Perkins? Or do they take that risk and hope he slips through the cracks for the chance to keep another player at a position that needs depth more than quarterback does?

McVay has plenty to consider in this situation now, and it’ll be fascinating to see how the quarterback situation plays out against the Broncos in the preseason finale next week.