Rams want discipline in preseason finale but won't discuss Aaron Donald discipline

Cincinnati Bengals guard Alex Cappa, right, and offensive tackle La'el Collins (71) block Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald (99) during a drill at the team's NFL football training facility, Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2022, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Jeff Dean)
Any possible action taken against the Rams' Aaron Donald because of a scuffle Thursday with the Bengals will be handled internally, the team said. (Jeff Dean / Associated Press)

Any disciplinary action for Aaron Donald or other Rams players for their roles in a brawl that ended Thursday’s joint practice with the Cincinnati Bengals will be handled internally, a team spokesperson said Friday.

The Rams practiced with the Bengals on Wednesday with only minor scuffles. Thursday’s workout, however, featured several skirmishes before one erupted into a brawl that included a helmet being swung.

A video appears to show Donald with a Bengals helmet in his hand as he fell to the ground.

Under NFL rules, the teams — not the league — are responsible for meting discipline for conduct during practices.

The Rams and Bengals play their final preseason game Saturday at Paycor Stadium. It marks the last chance for rookies and others to make their cases for being part of the 53-man roster, which must be set by 1 p.m. PT Tuesday.

Rams coach Sean McVay does not play starters or other key players in preseason games, meaning many of the participants in Thursday’s brawl will not play Saturday.

Five areas to watch:

Will there be another brawl? It seems unlikely. The NFL has control over discipline for conduct during games. Expect everyone to be on their best behavior on the field and the sidelines.

Can quarterback John Wolford play with an injured right thumb? Wolford did not practice Thursday after suffering the injury Wednesday.

Last week against the Houston Texans, Wolford played extensive game snaps for the first time since 2020. He led the Rams to two first-half field goals.

Wolford could use a good performance against the Bengals to solidify his role as Matthew Stafford’s backup.

Will quarterback Bryce Perkins do enough to elevate himself to No. 2 on the depth chart? With his strong play against the Chargers and Texans, Perkins probably already has assured himself an opening-game roster spot for the second season in a row.

But why stop there?

With Wolford sidelined Thursday, Perkins took advantage of an extended opportunity and performed very well. If Perkins has another strong game, he will give McVay something to think about.

Rams wide receiver Lance McCutcheon (82) participates in drills.
With Van Jefferson on the mend, rookie receiver Lance McCutcheon would appear to have a very good chance of making the Rams' roster. (Ashley Landis / Associated Press)

Is receiver Lance McCutcheon going to make the roster? McCutcheon, an undrafted free agent from Montana State, has three things working in his favor.

He made multiple impressive plays against the Chargers and Texans. Starting receiver Van Jefferson’s status for the opener is in doubt as he recovers from knee surgery, which could force the Rams to carry more receivers. The Rams probably do not want to risk another team claiming McCutcheon.

A strong performance against the Bengals probably will leave the Rams with no choice but to keep him on the opening-game roster.

Will running back Kyren Williams provide a spark? Cam Akers and Darrell Henderson have been nursing injuries, so Williams has been taking first-team reps for the last week, and McVay has said the rookie will play for the first time when they face the Bengals.

But will McVay follow through? Williams has shown during practices that he can be valuable as a runner and receiver.

Are rookie cornerbacks Decobie Durant and Derion Kendrick ready to contribute? Durant and Kendrick each played more snaps against the Texans than they did against the Chargers.

Durant broke up a pass, forced a fumble and was credited with a sack. Kendrick recovered a fumble.

They are attempting to find roles in a secondary that includes cornerback Jalen Ramsey, Troy Hill, David Long and Robert Rochell.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.