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 by Joe Pendleton
1 month ago
 Total posts:   147  
 Joined:  Jun 12 2021
Virgin Islands (USA)   LA Coliseum
Practice Squad

Dude

 by Hacksaw
1 month ago
 Total posts:   19951  
 Joined:  Apr 15 2015
United States of America   AT THE BEACH
Moderator

Where's the steel wool? I need to scrub my eyes out after looking at that.

 by /zn/
1 month ago
 Total posts:   6289  
 Joined:  Jun 28 2015
United States of America   Maine
Hall of Fame

Peter King, from https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2 ... cid=fmiatw

IRVINE, Calif. — There was a telling moment in Rams practice Saturday, though barely perceptible. The best defensive player in football, defensive tackle Aaron Donald, walked up to Matthew Stafford, mid-practice, and hugged him. This is not done, a defensive player hugging the quarterback, during a competitive period of practice. But here it was, under an unforgiving southern California sun, 99 hugging 9, and then practice continued.

“I mean, I’m just so happy he’s on our team,” Donald told me later. “I hugged him, just because. I said to him, ‘Man, I just wanna give you a hug.’ “

Donald, the most decorated defensive player in football, was searching for the right words here, because it was clearly unusual for him to do that in practice to a guy he’s trying to foil. “It’s honestly nothing funny,” he said finally. “He’ll be throwing the ball at practice, and I’m rushing, trying to win the play, and the throws he makes, the balls he throws, throwing to spots, how perfect a spiral it is. It’s crazy. As a competitor, I’m just happy. Happy he’s here.”

This will be a bit of a quarterback-centric column, because I’ve been places on my training-camp tour where this is a very big season for the quarterbacks—Derek Carr (Vegas), Dak Prescott (Dallas), Jimmy Garoppolo/Trey Lance (San Francisco), and Stafford with the Rams. Regarding Stafford: How amazing is it that a quarterback who was drafted first overall by Detroit in 2009, and never won a division title in 12 seasons, and never won a playoff game in 12 seasons, is now unabashedly viewed by some of the most respected people in football—Donald and coach Sean McVay, for two—as the missing piece in a Rams’ championship.

The Lead: Rams Camp

Last week, a bunch of baseball teams did what the Rams have been doing to build their team since McVay arrived in 2017: Stars went flying at the trading deadline. Six months to the day after the Rams traded a ransom to Detroit to get Stafford, the crosstown Dodgers traded their top two prospects to Washington for mega-stars Max Scherzer and Trea Turner. Just as the Dodgers did that to try to beat back major contenders San Francisco and San Diego in their division, the Rams got Stafford because they need to compete in the best division in football—and they’d fallen out of love with Jared Goff. It’s unfair to put the ’19 and ’20 failings on Goff’s shoulders alone; this is the player who did so much to get the Rams to a Super Bowl in 2018. But he’d hit a wall, and McVay and he just weren’t working. So here we are.

McVay fell in like with Stafford during a chance meeting with him while vacationing in Mexico in late January. (Both men say the encounter was unplanned.) As Carolina, Washington, New England (lightly), Denver, Indianapolis and the Jets tried to get involved in the Stafford stakes, the Rams had a quarterback Detroit thought may be its future (Goff), the Rams wanted Stafford badly, and the Rams were willing to surrender two first-round picks to get him. No other team could make an offer that complete.

Half a year later, Aaron Donald’s hugging Stafford and Sean McVay is lifting Stafford’s kids up to the sky and chortling with them post-practice. So how’s it going? Pretty good—but camp is camp, and we’ll see what happens when Khalil Mack is chasing Stafford around SoFi Stadium in six weeks. On Saturday, I made the rounds of Rams execs, McVay and players, and watched their two-hour practice. The biggest takeaway from the day: In Jared Goff, McVay had a student. In Matthew Stafford, McVay has a peer.

Some of it might be proximity of age: Stafford is 33, McVay 35. Goff is 26. But it’s more than that. To McVay, a quarterback needs a lot of traits, but two important ones are disciplined reads going through his options on a play, and boldness on downfield throws—the ability and mental acuity to be willing to take risks when it’s smart. Clearly, those are traits McVay sees in Stafford.

Last Thursday during the team’s nightly meeting at the hotel, McVay cued up a play that had meaning far beyond one down. Stafford took the snap inside the 5-yard line. Empty formation. Stafford started on Cooper Kupp in the right slot. Covered. Tight end Tyler Higbee on a crossing route from the left. Too much traffic. Then Robert Woods, back of the end zone. Stafford lowered his arm slot to three-quarters to fit the ball where he saw an opening. Then zzzzzzzzip. “That thing came whizzing by my left ear,” center Austin Corbett said. “I heard it! I’m like, ‘Holy cow!’ “

Touchdown.

“When the pros are saying ‘Ooh, holy blank,’ you know it’s a pretty good play,” said McVay. “Those who know, know.”

That play accomplished a lot. It showed McVay and the offense that Stafford was going to be honest and thorough in his progressions, so the second and third and fourth options need to be ready. That wasn’t always the case with Goff. And the fastball. And moving and manipulating the pocket, changing his arm slot. And did I mention the fastball? “He will attempt throws that 26 or 28 starting quarterbacks in the NFL won’t,” said Dan Orlovsky, the ESPN analyst who projects a happy marriage for Stafford with McVay. “Matthew’s aggressive, and his confidence is founded in aggression. But he’s smart about it.”

Saturday was a good day for the team too. Stafford went at top cornerback Jalen Ramsey a few times, and Ramsey made a great play to bat away a deep throw for DeSean Jackson once; later, in a red zone period, Ramsey may have lulled Stafford into thinking he had a pathway to Kupp, but he darted in at the last second to pick Stafford—and ran it back for a touchdown. On the last play of practice, another tight window, and Stafford risked it, hitting Woods over leaping safety Juju Hughes.

All of that is exactly what practice on July 31 should be: great competition among very good players trying to get ready to win the final game of the season.

“When you really study him,” McVay told me, “you see the intricacies of quarterback position. He’s playing it at the highest level in the most difficult spots. You’re getting rushed. His ability to navigate the pocket, his movement, his feel for the rush, his ability to keep his eyes down the field. And then to exhaust your progression against that rush, that’s something in the NFL that a quarterback just has to do, and you see him progress to second, third, fourth, maybe even the fifth option, is real. It’s important.”

STAFFORD INTERLUDE [interview]

FMIA: How much did losing wear on you in Detroit?

Stafford: “Had some great seasons there where we were successful and that’s as much fun as you can have playing football. It’s tough to lose. Everybody knows that. For me, it wasn’t so much that as it was just kind of knowing where the organization was going. It was going through a big change with new head coach, new general manager. Gonna be a lot of new players as well. I just felt like the timing was right. It was well within their rights to tell me that it wasn’t, and I would’ve understood. Just really appreciate them for at least entertaining the idea and then obviously going through and together making that happen. It’s something that as a player, you want to have chances at it. Luckily, they were great and sent me to a place that’s got a bunch of great players and a bunch of recent success.”

FMIA: Any part of you feel you let the franchise down there?

Stafford: “Definitely. I sit there and go, ‘Man, I wish I could’ve gotten it done.’ I mean, it would’ve been amazing to have a Super Bowl parade down Woodward Avenue in Detroit. Didn’t happen. Tough pill to swallow as a competitor and somebody who touches the ball on every single offensive play. You definitely look back and wish you’d done a few things different here or there in some games, that maybe change the outcomes of seasons, but I’m focused completely forward now.

FMIA: Are you a good fit for the McVay offense?

Stafford: “I mean, it’s very complex. At the same time, it all makes sense. There’s just quite a bit to it. I’m doing everything that I can to make sure that I’m diving into it and getting as comfortable as I can as quickly as I possibly can. As far as fitting me, I think it probably fits most quarterbacks to tell you the truth. It’s a really good offense. I’m excited to try to bring it to life.”

FMIA: Think the fun of football will be rekindled here?

Stafford: “I don’t think I ever lost it. I love playing this game. I love competing. Being in those big moments late in games, playing in big games, playing in playoff games, that’s what you play this game for. You live for those moments. Hopefully I get a bunch of opportunities at those while I’m here and make the most of them.”

...

Honeymoons are wonderful. McVay and Stafford are on one now, as you can see. Stafford has the undying respect of his peers for his arm strength and guts and football smarts. Lots of good quarterbacks have been stuck on bad teams and played parts or all of their careers in the mire of mediocrity. But Stafford isn’t in the Michigan muck anymore. He’s got two of the best defensive players in the game, Donald and Ramsey, and enough weapons so that any good to very good quarterback should have a good chance to win. His running game will be diminished after the loss of Cam Akers for the season last month, but that might just mean three to five more ball-control safe throws per game to try to move the chains. Stafford was already going to be a strong contender to lead the league in passing yards and touchdowns. Minus Akers, Stafford could be the most desirable fantasy quarterback in the NFL’s golden age of quarterbacks.

There’s nothing standing in his way now. The offensive chessmaster who is McVay will challenge Stafford to be great and give him every chance to be great. After 12 years in a football hinterland, the L.A. lights will be bright, starting in prime time on NBC in the Sunday night season-opener against Chicago. Now it’s on Stafford. His legacy awaits.

 by Haden
1 month ago
 Total posts:   1642  
 Joined:  Sep 06 2016
United States of America   Spokane, WA
Pro Bowl

Should be an exciting season!

 by snackdaddy
1 month ago
 Total posts:   8358  
 Joined:  May 30 2015
United States of America   Merced California
Hall of Fame

Is it me? Or does Goff look like Amy Schumer? Stafford looks like the girl next door type.

 by Flash
1 month ago
 Total posts:   932  
 Joined:  Jan 13 2016
United States of America   Houston
Veteran

I found this on You Tube. Pretty much says that Goff has a hard time reading defenses, checks down too often and doesn't have the confidence to throw deep. Stafford, he says, does not have these issues.

Does have on snip about McVay not changing the system to adapt.


 by /zn/
1 month ago
 Total posts:   6289  
 Joined:  Jun 28 2015
United States of America   Maine
Hall of Fame

Flash wrote:I found this on You Tube. Pretty much says that Goff has a hard time reading defenses, checks down too often and doesn't have the confidence to throw deep.


And that's a lot of hyperbole and bs. No one who has "a hard time reading defenses" comes through in games like the 2018 NFC game in New Orleans, or the 2020 Tampa game where they were on the road, could not run, and the Tampa offense was answering scores so they had to throw 51 times and had to break a tie in the last minutes to win.

That vid is shallow analysis from, I am guessing, someone who just watched some 2020 Rams games and doesn;t know the Rams like we do. Like I said, a lot of hyperbole.

Goff had some issues in 2020 but it wasn't all him. Basically he had 4 bad games last year.

Is Stafford better? Well he is, absolutely, but then he also better be 8-) -- I mean he's a very tuned in, savvy 13 year vet who still has high-end physical skills. That's supposed to be better than all but a few qbs in the league.

...

...

 by AvengerRam
1 month ago
 Total posts:   7013  
 Joined:  Oct 03 2017
Israel   Lake Mary, Florida
Moderator

It would be interesting to watch game film with McVay in a situation in which he could be entirely candid, and to learn how often Goff made a choice that he thought was the wrong one. For example, there may have been plays in which Goff completed a pass for 10-12 yards and, to the casual observer, made a good choice but, in McVay's eyes, he missed an opportunity for a bigger play.

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127 posts Sep 21 2021