THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — As Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay was answering questions about quarterback Baker Mayfield on Wednesday afternoon, he paused to do the math.

“It’s 12 o’clock right now,” McVay said. “Literally he just got here about 14 hours ago, when we ended up starting to meet with him.”

As McVay discussed whether Mayfield could play against the Las Vegas Raiders on Thursday night, two days after the Rams claimed him off waivers, he said he thought Mayfield would be “capable of it if we ask,” but that “it would be unprecedented.”

The truth is, so much of this season has been “unprecedented” for the defending Super Bowl champions.

The Rams have dealt with injuries to several position groups including quarterback. Matthew Stafford is out because of a spinal cord contusion and not expected back this season. Backup John Wolford is also on the injury report with a neck injury. The Rams’ 3-9 record is the worst 12-game start by any team coming a Super Bowl victory. Los Angeles turns to Mayfield in the hopes it can salvage something — whether it’s Thursday night (8:15 p.m. ET, Prime Video) or for the final four games.

The Rams have not officially been eliminated from playoff contention, but according to ESPN Stats & Information, they have a 0.0% chance to make the postseason. Now, Los Angeles can essentially use the rest of the season to evaluate for 2023 and beyond.

One of the reasons the Rams brought in Mayfield, offensive coordinator Liam Coen said, was not only to evaluate him in their offense, but also to help evaluate the rest of the offense for the Rams, a unit without wide receivers Cooper Kupp and Allen Robinson.

Mayfield is coming off seven games with the Carolina Panthers, where he had a total QBR of 18.2, the worst in the NFL this season among qualified quarterbacks and the second worst ever among 521 qualified passers since tracking of the stat began in 2006, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

Still, McVay said he thinks the Rams will be able to accomplish their evaluation, because it won’t be exclusive to what happens on the field during games.

“It’s the weekly rhythm, it’s the daily rhythm, how you practice, how you meet and then how you put yourself in a position to play well in that window of time,” McVay said. “Then just some of the abilities that he has gives you an opportunity to be able to see some different things relative to the skill positions, and maybe open up certain portions of your playbook.”

McVay wouldn’t commit to whether Mayfield could be with in Los Angeles long term. “We feel good about our room and the quarterback that we have for the future of the Los Angeles Rams, which is Matthew Stafford,” Coen said. “But, [we] feel obviously pretty good about somebody to come in here and compete at a high level for us.”

The Rams have two backup quarterbacks on the roster right now — Wolford and Bryce Perkins — but neither has won a game since taking over for Stafford. Wolford, who has been with the Rams since 2019, will be a free agent after this season.

If Mayfield is willing to back up Stafford next season, this trial period could lead to filling an important need for Los Angeles going forward.

McVay said the Rams weren’t actively looking to add to their quarterback room, but “when you have a player of his caliber come available and you look at just the circumstances in the situation surrounding our quarterback room, we felt like it was the right move for us.”

“I’ve always respected his game [and] liked a lot of things that he brings to the table,” McVay added. “… [He’s an] incredibly sharp guy. It was good to be able to be around him, but really, we felt like it upgraded our quarterback room. It gives us a chance to have him in the building, and we’ll see how it goes.”

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