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Rams could start Sean Mannion if Jared Goff isn't cleared

If Goff is unable to clear the concussion protocol in time for Saturday's game, Mannion could see the field in his place.

Heading into the Los Angeles Rams' Week 16 matchup against the San Francisco 49ers, much of the talk has centered on the status of rookie quarterback Jared Goff

Late in the fourth quarter of Thursday's 24-3 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, Goff suffered a brutal hit from Pro Bowl cornerback Richard Sherman on a 15-yard scramble that was called back due to a holding penalty. The outcome of the play immediately led to the Rams taking him out of the game to conduct the mandatory concussion protocol because of the vicious blow that occurred near his head/neck area. 

Since then, the Rams have been extremely cautious given the seriousness of the matter dealing with a potential head injury. Interim head coach John Fassel on Monday once again voiced confidence that Goff could play against the 49ers, but made it clear that he is still in the concussion protocol. 

“He was out there today," Fassel said. "He’s still in the concussion protocol, but he was involved in all the meetings this morning.”

With this week's tilt scheduled to take place on Saturday, it has pushed up the last practice before the game to Thursday, which Fassel indicated would be their final determination regarding whether Goff would take the field. If Goff is unable to play, the conversation has already begun about preparing second-year quarterback Sean Mannion to fill the spot in that scenario. 

"We’d love to get Sean some reps in the situation like last week, where something happens to Jared – whether he can’t find his helmet or his shoelace breaks – get Sean in there for a little bit of work," Fassel said. "Which would be good, to see Sean. Case has performed well when required, but it would be good for the team to get a look at Sean and see what he can do if pressed into service by necessity.”

Since being selected in the third round of the 2015 draft, Mannion has had limited action in his brief NFL career. He made one appearance during that occurred last season in the 31-7 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals completing six of seven passes for 31 yards. With that in mind, Fassel believes that it's important to see what Mannion has to offer the team. 

“It would be great to see what he can do. He was a draft pick of ours," Fassel said. "He’s also earned it – he comes in early every day, he stays late with Case and Jared, he prepares like he’s going to play, which is hard to do as an inactive, third quarterback all season. He’s earned it, it would be great to see what he can do."

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