‘It’s A Little Abnormal For A Quarterback’ | Rams Concerned With Matthew Stafford’s Elbow Pain As They Prepare For A Title Defense

(Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

Training camp for the Los Angeles Rams is underway and head coach Sean McVay is concerned about quarterback Matthew Stafford’s elbow pain. The defending Super Bowl champions hope to repeat and open up as +1100 favorites to win it again, fourth in the NFL. But they won’t be winning if they don’t have stability when it comes to their quarterback, who suffered an elbow injury — which typically is more common in the world of baseball.

“It’s a little bit abnormal for a quarterback,” McVay said Thursday. “Some of this stuff is things that MLB pitchers deal with, so it is something that we’re kind of learning about on the fly with his feedback.”

Stafford suffered an elbow injury last season and played through it. During the offseason he received an injection to help with the pain and healing process. He didn’t throw during spring camp in an attempt to be best prepared for summer training camp and the upcoming season.

He has thrown the ball in 7-on-7 drills but is not doing so during full team portions of practice. It’s clear the Rams and Stafford are trying to limit the amount of throws outside of what is necessary.

“Could he do it? Yes,” McVay said. “Is that the best thing? We didn’t think so. And I think I’ve got a responsibility to try to make decisions that are in the best alignment using medical experts and talking with Matthew. And so all of those things combined led to where we’re at right now. And it is an ever-evolving process, but we are really taking over these next couple weeks, seeing how they go.”

At 34 years old, Stafford only has so many throws left in his arm, despite the outlier performance we’re seeing with Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 42-year-old quarterback Tom Brady.

The Rams are being cautious with what the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport has reported as “bad tendinitis.”

Limiting Stafford makes sense. It’s not as though he’s a rookie quarterback learning a new system or dealing with an abundance of new teammates. This is a veteran group that knows one another and don’t need as many reps to ensure they are on the same page.

Of course this is still football and they need to be in sync as far as timing, etc. The 7-on-7 drills and some focused work should help.

“[You] want to try to have him operate in as little pain as possible,” McVay said. “I think anytime that you’ve played as long and are as tough as he is, I don’t know if you’re ever truly pain-free, but the goal would be for Sept. 8 and really looking towards 17 games then hopefully some games after that if we earn that opportunity.
“That’s kind of the perspective and the big-picture approach that we want to be able to take. I don’t know that I would feel as comfortable taking that approach if it wasn’t for the experience that he’s accumulated and knowing how intentional he is about staying up to speed with his mental and his physical work that he can do in the absence of some of the stuff in the team settings.”

There is no sense of panic right now and there shouldn’t be. But keep an eye on the Rams and Stafford in the early part of the season.