The Los Angeles Rams (4-3) took a second-straight loss in a battle of the teams in the NFC West (3-2) when they fell to the Detroit Lions (5-2) 26-23 at Ford Field. Matthew Stafford completed 27-of-49 for a career-high 456 yards and a touchdown to a week ago, while Jared Goff was 26-of-37 for a season-high 301 yards.
The Los Angeles Rams signed former Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford to an $87.5 million contract, and he earned it by throwing for 5,235 yards and 39 touchdowns in 2018. His supporting cast, however, has been a mixed bag, and it’s a big reason why the Rams have a 2-6 record.
The Rams have just traded for former Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford. He’s a nice player, but what about his teammates? Did they get better, or just the player himself? Let’s take a look at the offensive supporting cast around Stafford.. Read more about matthew stafford trade and let us know what you think.
6 a.m. ET
ESPN’s Lindsey Thiry
- For the Los Angeles Times, I covered the Rams for two years.
- Previously, I wrote about the Falcons.
- Has written about the NBA, as well as college football and basketball.
THOUSAND OAKS, CALIFORNIA – The Los Angeles Rams haven’t strayed from their plan in landing quarterback Matthew Stafford in a stunning deal.
The Rams’ executive staff thinks they are still in position to make another long playoff run, perhaps to the Super Bowl, after a Super Bowl participation in 2018. They are hoping that Stafford, who is in his 13th season as a quarterback, will be the one to lead them.
Stafford endeared himself to teammates during his first L.A. training camp with his leadership and ability to pass the ball.
Aaron Donald, the three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year, said, “I’m just watching him, the way he works, the balls he’s throwing and getting it to these receivers.” “I’ve never seen it done that way.”
Here’s a look at Stafford’s offensive supporting cast as the 33-year-old Stafford prepares for his Week 1 debut against the Chicago Bears on Sept. 12th.
Line of attack
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Midway through camp, the offensive line played a short game of musical chairs.
At first glance, it seemed like Austin Corbett, a fourth-year pro, would start at center and Bobby Evans, a third-year pro, would play right guard. Corbett moved to right guard, fourth-year veteran Brian Allen took over at center, and Evans became the odd man out following a joint session with the Dallas Cowboys ten practices into camp.
“Brian has done an outstanding job, and Austin is transitioning back to guard,” Stafford said. “It’s been quite smooth.”
Allen, a fourth-round selection in 2018, started nine games at center as a second-year pro before knee surgery ended his season. He did not play last season and is currently on his rookie contract’s last year.
Stafford described him as “a very excellent communicator and a clever person.” “He used to play center for a long period. It’s been a pleasure working with him.”
The line might be in excellent condition if Allen proves to be reliable. The line ranked eighth in the NFL with a pass-block victory rate of 62.6 percent last season, with Austin Blythe at center (who joined with the Kansas City Chiefs in free agency).
Left tackle Andrew Whitworth, who is in his 16th season and will be 40 in December, will guard Stafford’s blind side. Rob Havenstein, a seventh-year veteran, returns to right tackle, while David Edwards, a third-year pro, returns to left guard.
The interior line’s depth may be an issue, but fourth-year pro Joe Noteboom, who is also in the last year of his rookie deal, showed last season that he can fill in at tackle if necessary.
Tyler Higbee, a sixth-year veteran, is back for his fifth season as a starter. Higbee looked healthy in camp while developing a connection with Stafford after catching 44 receptions for 521 yards and five scores while playing through multiple ailments last season.
McVay added, “He’s been a productive player for such a long time.” “I believe he is in excellent spirits. Last year, he really fought through a lot of different things, which is a testament to his tenacity and perseverance.”
However, with the Rams declining to extend free agent Gerald Everett, who signed with the Seattle Seahawks, depth behind Higbee may be a problem.
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Johnny Mundt, an undrafted free agent from Oregon in 2017, has been promoted to the backup tight end position after serving as a third-string tight end who mostly served as a blocker. Mundt has nine receptions for 84 yards in four seasons.
“I believe Johnny Mundt is prepared to take on a larger role,” McVay added. “After that, the men are really trying hard to establish themselves after those two.”
Jacob Harris, a fourth-round selection, showed flashes during the summer program, but rookies have had trouble integrating into McVay’s system in recent seasons, and Harris doesn’t seem to be destined for a big role.
Brycen Hopkins, a fourth-round selection in 2020, has yet to make an impression as a player who can make a significant contribution.
Returning to the beginning
Cam Akers’ season-ending right Achilles injury before training camp was a setback, as the second-round selection from last year was anticipated to shine.
However, when healthy, third-year pro Darrell Henderson Jr. ran for 624 yards and five touchdowns last season, and the Rams acquired fourth-year pro Sony Michel, a former first-round choice, through a deal with the New England Patriots in return for a 2022 sixth-round pick and a 2023 fourth-round pick. Michel adds much-needed depth, and his downhill approach complements Henderson’s shiftiness and pass-catching skills.
“When you look at the trust that we have in Darrell Henderson and what he’s been able to accomplish when he’s been available for us,” McVay said of Michel, “he’s a great compliment to what we already have.”
Despite the acquisition of Michel, McVay said that rookie seventh-round selection Jake Funk was still a part of the plan, noting his “amazing maturity for a rookie guy.”
With Matthew Stafford as his new quarterback, Field Yates and Matthew Berry both favor Cooper Kupp this season.
In 2020, the offense lacked a deep threat, which limited its ability to use the whole field.
DeSean Jackson was acquired in free agency by the Rams to help stretch the defense, and he’s done just that in camp, connecting with Stafford on long throws every day. After missing the bulk of the previous two seasons due to different ailments, keeping Jackson healthy will be a struggle. In order to keep the 14-year veteran accessible, the Rams have devised a careful training regimen.
When asked why the 34-year-old Jackson was recently rested during practice, McVay replied, “Speed guy, at 34 years old, 35, whatever [old].” “It’s incredible how he’s still able to run. He has a good understanding of his own physique.”
Stafford’s connection with Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp seems to be in top shape in the middle of the season, and the two are destined to be his go-to targets. Van Jefferson’s rapport with Stafford has gradually grown, and the second-year pro looks to be on pace to outperform his rookie season.
“He’s striving to get better every time we walk out on the field,” Stafford said of Jefferson, who caught 19 receptions for 220 yards and a score last season. “I’m attempting to improve my interactions with him and the other men. We’re just trying to make the most of our chances. That’s what he has to do, and it’s what he’ll keep doing.”
If Jackson is unavailable, Tutu Atwell, a second-round selection, may be pushed into action, but based on the preseason, it seems the rookie’s influence will be limited to special teams as a returner.
The Rams have a chance. A real chance. At the 2-5 mark, the Los Angeles Rams are looking like an NFL playoff team. The offense is scoring points, the defense is holding the opposition to fewer than 20 points per game (13th in the NFL), and the special teams are hitting their marks. Not bad, eh?. Read more about la rams news and let us know what you think.
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