Coach Sean McVay says persistent pain in Matthew Stafford’s elbow is unusual for a football player, and the Los Angeles Rams are trying to determine whether it will hinder their starting quarterback in the regular season.
Stafford is throwing in individual drills and 7-on-7 setups while skipping the full-team portions of the defending Super Bowl champion’s training camp exercises at UC Irvine. Stafford had an unspecified injection in the elbow during the off-season, and he reported feeling pain in the joint last month after making no serious throws on the Rams’ off-season schedule.
“It’s a little unusual for a quarterback,” McVay said Thursday. “Some of these things are things that MLB pitchers deal with, so it’s something that we’re learning on the fly with our feedback.”
McVay insists Stafford could do more in practice and maybe play in a game this week, but the Rams are trying to figure out how to keep him healthy throughout his season.
“Want to try to operate him in as little pain as possible,” McVay said. “I think whenever you’ve played that long and as hard as that, I don’t know if you’re really pain-free, but the goal would be for September 8th, and really looking forward to games 17, So hopefully a few games after that, if we earn that opportunity. That’s the kind of approach and the bigger picture approach that we want to be able to take. I don’t know if I’m as comfortable taking that approach would feel if it were not for the experience he has accumulated.”
McVay said the Rams are trying “a revised approach and a progressive rebuild” with Stafford, who played through unspecified pain in his wildly successful West Coast debut last season. The veteran quarterback passed for 4,886 yards and 41 touchdowns last season, before Los Angeles scored four consecutive playoff wins and its first Super Bowl title since returning home from St.
Stafford’s injury left him little time to adjust with new receiver Alan Robinson, but he is spending extra time studying film with Super Bowl MVP Cooper Kup to build their chemistry for the season.
“He’s our leader, so whatever he sees, whatever he feels, what he wants from the quarterback spot, we make sure we’re getting those things done,” Robinson said.
McVay also said that Jacob Harris will be out for “probably a couple of weeks” with a groin strain. Harris did not make a catch as a rookie pick in the fourth round last season.