NFL
July 16, 2021

3 Reasons Why Matthew Stafford Will Excel With Los Angeles Rams

The Los Angeles Rams made the first big splash move of the offseason by acquiring  Matthew Stafford for a trade package that included longtime quarterback Jared Goff

The blockbuster move finally pushes Stafford out from the Detroit Lions to a promising situation with the Rams. As he prepares for his first campaign in Los Angeles, here are three reasons why he will excel in his new NFL home.

He's Sean Payton's New Toy

Stafford’s arrival to the Rams came with plenty of praise and excitement from Rams coach Sean McVay. 

In his first four seasons in Los Angeles, the 35-year-old has coached the team to three playoff appearances, two NFC West division titles, and a Super Bowl berth. He accomplished that feat by helping transform Goff into a Pro Bowl talent. 

However, the last two seasons saw the Cal product regress, resulting in limitations to the Rams offensive gameplan. With Stafford in the mix, McVay is expected to let the star quarterback stretch the field with his arm while opening up various different opportunities that weren’t there with Goff.

“Bro, this dude’s a bad MF-er,” McVay told Sports Illustrated. “Whatever people say about him, as good as it can be, he’s even better than advertised. It makes sense to him. The guy’s ability to see the game, his ability to draw on his experiences, the feel that he has, it’s pretty special and unique. And man, his feel for people, his authentic way of connecting with his teammates, his coaches, this guy, it’s great being around him.”

In other words, expect Stafford to let it rip in 2021.

He'll Finally Have a Dependable Running Game

Throughout Stafford's first 12 years with the Lions, the franchise struggled to field a competitive team. 

One of the biggest issues was the Lions' lack of a stable running game to complement Stafford’s arm talent. In the 165 career regular-season games with the Stafford under center, the Lions had a 100-yard rusher just 11 times. 

Stafford is heading into a situation where the Rams possess a clear-cut workhorse running back with Cam Akers. The Florida State product is coming off a strong rookie campaign, where he rushed for 625 yards in 13 games played with five starts. He capped off his first year with 171 rushing yards against the New England Patriots, marking the fourth-most by a Rams rookie in a single game.

Akers followed that up with 221 rushing yards in Los Angeles’ two playoff games, including 131 rushing yards in the wildcard win over the Seattle Seahawks.

Stafford surely won’t have to worry about a balanced offensive attack.

A Wealth Of Talent Around Him

One key factor that led to the Lions' constant struggles was the lack of talent around Stafford. 

Yes, Detroit had Hall of Famer Calvin Johnson for several years before his retirement followed by productive wideouts Golden Tate, Marvin Jones, and Kenny Golladay. However, the franchise never maintained a strong stable of offensive weapons. 

Stafford is stepping into a situation where he will have one of the league’s best wide receiver duos in Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods. Since Woods joined the Rams in 2017, he’s compiled 4,070 receiving yards on 322 receptions while adding 439 rushing yards. 

Meanwhile, Kupp is coming off back-to-back seasons with more than 950 receiving yards and at least 90 receptions. The Rams also added a proven deep-ball threat with DeSean Jackson while drafting another in rookie Tutu Atwell. Tight end Tyler Higbee has also rounded into a highly dependable passing game option with more than 550 receiving yards in each of the last two campaigns.

The Rams possess all the pieces and framework for Stafford to put together potentially the best statistical season of his NFL career.

Photo: Getty Images