- He covered the Rams for the Los Angeles Times for two years.
- Previously handled by Sokolov
- Beats the NBA, college football and basketball.
SOAND OAKS, CA. — Although he’s far from settled in Southern California after 12 seasons with the Detroit Lions, new Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford is already living up to expectations for a Super Bowl in Los Angeles.
Sometimes I think pressure is a positive thing, I like it, Stafford said Friday during an introductory video conference call. I want to play these big games and these big moments, so this is a chance for me more than anything.
The Rams acquired Stafford from Detroit in exchange for quarterback Jared Goff, a third-round pick and a first-round pick in 2022 and 2023. The transaction closed at 30. January agreed, but it didn’t become official until Thursday, a day after the start of the new league year.
Rams coach Sean McVay, who won two division titles, an NFC championship and Super Bowl LIII in four seasons with Goff, said the opportunity to acquire a player of Stafford’s caliber is a rare one.
The ability to acquire someone like him was an opportunity we wanted to aggressively pursue, and fortunately it worked out, McVay said. But this is in no way a disrespect or appreciation of all the great things Jared Goff has done.
In 12 seasons with the Lions, Stafford reached the playoffs three times, but failed to win in the postseason. He set franchise records with 3,898 completions, 45,109 yards, 282 touchdowns and 74 wins. With the Rams, Stafford joins an offense that returns receivers Robert Woods and Cooper Koop, tight end Tyler Higbee and running back Cam Akers. The Rams also have at least four of their five offensive linemen back.
General manager Les Snead confirmed Friday that the team is still looking for an explosive deep threat. The hardest part of the equation is finding players who can pose a real threat to NFL defenders, Snead said.
It is not yet known when Stafford will be able to meet and train with his new teammates. Due to the ongoing limitations of the coronavirus, he must get to know McVay, his teammates and the new offensive system during the virtual offseason.
I thought he would be limited in some way, if not to the end, Stafford said. So it’s going to be an interesting opportunity and challenge for me to get to know these guys as well as I can and make sure they get to know me, so we can go out there and play as a team and win a few games.
McVay, who is entering his fifth season as a coach, has expressed a desire to work and play on the field with his new quarterback, who he expects to generate new passions on offense.
He has great open field vision, he can see the field, he can speed it up if he’s in trouble, McVay said. You see a man for whom the game makes sense when you watch a movie, and I really respect the lens through which he sees it….. We are excited every time we get the chance to get to work.
Stafford has two years left on his contract, but the 33-year-old said Friday that he’s not worried about a contract extension.
My job is to play at a high level and help the team win football games, that’s what I’m interested in right now. I’ll just play and let the rest fall into place.
Stafford said the decision he made with the Lions to leave the organization was a difficult one, but he said both sides talked about getting him to a place where the team was ready to succeed in a short period of time.
Obviously, the Rams are that kind of team, Stafford said. They were very successful as a team, that’s what attracted me to them.
The Rams finished 10-6 last season and lost in the playoffs. In four seasons under McVay, they made the playoffs three times.
In addition to a number of starters on offense, the Rams get three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald and All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey back in 2021.
Stafford has already visited the Rams’ temporary training facility in Thousand Oaks, as well as SoFi Stadium, which is expected to open to fans later in the season.
After 12 years with the Lions, Stafford said he feels different seeing his new home, but, he added, it’s exciting at the same time. Here’s hoping to find a home soon and hopefully for good.
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