What’s life like for a new player in a new city? For Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, it’s tough to tell. But the first few months of his tenure with the Los Angeles Rams have been nothing short of a dream. Stafford is set to sign a three-year extension with the Rams on February 29th, and the deal should keep him in Los Angeles for the foreseeable future. While the deal is still pending final approval, Stafford’s agent, Tom Condon, made it clear that the 32-year-old quarterback is looking forward to putting down roots with his new team.
The LA Rams are hoping to improve on their lackluster 7-9 record in 2017, and they have a new head coach in Sean McVay to lead the way. They also have a new quarterback under center, after the team cut starter Case Keenum in favor of signing free agent quarterback Jared Goff to a five year, $150 million deal.
Matthew Stafford said he had his thumb surgically repaired during the offseason, and he expects to be ready for the start of training camp. The Detroit Lions quarterback was taking part in his first offseason in Los Angeles when the surgery went down, and he called the procedure “a success.” He said he’s in good shape, and his thumb is fine, so he’s excited to get to work.
LOS ANGELES – Matthew Stafford says his preseason thumb surgery won’t hinder anything he wants to do in his first offseason workout with the Los Angeles Rams.
Learning a new game and getting to know all the players in the Rams’ locker room are more than enough challenges for the veteran, but he’s confident he has plenty of time to get things done.
And after missing much of the team’s offseason last spring due to the coronavirus pandemic, Stafford is thankful he chose to play for another team this year.
Selfishly, I love this era, Stafford said Monday in his first public comment since the Rams’ offseason program began. It gives me a chance to be on the field, play and face our defense a little bit. Just the one above the neck, the opportunity to work on the mental aspect of the game. So that part was great for me. … I feel like everyone is finding what works best for them as an organization, and I think we’ve achieved that.
After four months offseason and a few weeks getting used to the daily sunshine in his new home, Stafford says he’s settled in well with the Rams.
Stafford also said he feels healthier. He played with torn ligaments in his right thumb in the second half of last season with the Detroit Lions and ran for 4,084 yards and 26 touchdowns. Stafford also suffered rib, left knee and right ankle injuries, but still started all 16 games for the ninth time in 10 years.
He described his thumb surgery as a quick fix. I feel so much better. Since we’ve been together, I’ve limited myself to nothing.
Last week, the Rams worked on their conditioning and did some individual workouts. With the team’s workouts beginning before minicamp next month, Stafford will have the chance to understand daily the details and nuances necessary for the Rams to get what they wanted when they traded two first-round picks and quarterback Jared Goff for the 33-year-old veteran quarterback who is still seeking his first NFL playoff victory.
Stafford is looking forward to every day of these offseason classes, which he says will be a whole new experience for him.
The most important thing for a quarterback is to be able to do mental exercises, Stafford added. I am able to get in and out of the huddle, learn new terminology and see how our plays develop against different defenses. I’m just trying to learn as much as I can, not only about our game plan and how we’re going to do it, but also to get to know my teammates.
Rams midfielder Leonard Floyd said Stafford’s new teammates already see the kind of competition at the helm of an offense that under Goff has won four seasons in a row and made the playoffs three times.
He throws the ball with great accuracy, Floyd said. He’s a born leader. He comes in, does his job, and you can tell the guys already understand what he’s doing.
Stafford also gets to know coach Sean McVay, whose offense has regressed the past two seasons. In the past two months, the Rams have made a trade to acquire Stafford, contracted veteran receiver DeSean Jackson and drafted speedster Tutu Atwell, each step made with a determination to return the offense to its most dangerous form of 2017 and 2018.
Stafford is looking forward to his first matchup with Jackson and Atwell, and will meet Robert Woods and Cooper Kapp, two of the Rams’ top receivers. But he can’t fully prepare for the season without working deeply with McVay, who is developing a game plan to take advantage of the many strengths of his realigned offense.
I keep learning new things about him, Stafford said of McVay. He’s obviously a very energetic man. He loves the game. The most important thing for me so far is that I have the same man every day. He asks a lot of everyone, and He knows we ask the same of ourselves.
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