IRVINE (News4usonline) — The big news to come out of Rams camp on the first day of August is that the team has leaned into not allowing quarterback Matthew Stafford to do any extra work than necessary. Translation? The Super Bowl-winning quarterback won’t be burdened with going through some of the rigors that training camp requires.
The Rams are likely to stick to this formula all the way up to the season opener against the Buffalo Bills on Sept. 8, head coach Sean McVay said after the team’s practice at UC Irvine.
Los Angeles Rams backup quarterback John Wolford (13) making plays in training camp on Aug. 1, 2022. Photo by Mark Hammond/News4usonline
“We’d lessened Matthew’s workload today,” said McVay. “Really when we look at it, we’ve got five weeks until September 8. He’s still feeling a little bit of pain, he could push through it. You guys have been out here, he’s been throwing and competing in team settings.
“We felt like the smart thing was let’s really just take it a week at a time,” McVay added. “He ended up getting about 40 to 50 throws in individual. We didn’t take part in the team activities and that’s really more a result of he’s got so much experience.”
During training camp, Stafford has looked sharp, zipping passes with pinpoint accuracy. In those 40 to 50 passes that he threw on the first day of August, Stafford was nailing it with his throwing. Stafford gave no indication whatsoever that he was in any type of pain.
The move by the Rams is more procedural than anything else, so he isn’t worried about whether or not Stafford will be ready to go.
Bryce Perkins (16) of the Los Angeles Rams prepares to hand the ball off during training camp practice on Aug. 1, 2022. Photo by Mark Hammond/News4usonline
“The most important thing is for him feeling good and healthy on September 8,” said McVay. “We could certainly push and he could really grind through this, but that’s not the goal with somebody like him. It’s not something that we’re concerned about. We just want to be really smart with somebody that is as important as our quarterback is and as experienced as he is to be able to put together a plan that we feel like is in his best interest and in our team’s best interest.”
With Stafford getting limited action in training camp and fall practice moving forward, John Wolford and Bryce Perkins will probably get most of the reps in camp. McVay is high on what Wolford brings to the table as an experienced signal-caller.
“I think like anything else, the way that we would operate with John, as opposed to Matthew, there’s still some foundational principles, but there’s some things that maybe we would accentuate with his skill set,” quipped McVay. “But I thought he did a nice job today. He really saw the field well, had some things that he’s going to be able to learn from.”
A lesson to be learned in the NFL is next man up. If someone goes down, the player has to be ready to step in and get the job done. Before breaking the news about Stafford, McVay announced that wide receiver Van Jefferson was scheduled to have surgery following a minor knee injury.
Los Angeles Rams defensive back Robert Rochelle (31) tries putting the clamps on a wide receiver during training camp practice on Aug. 1, 2022. Photo by Mark Hammond/News4usonline
“He got a little knee tweak right there,” said McVay. “He is going to get a minor surgery tomorrow. His timetable is a few weeks. We’ll see what his availability looks like to start the season, but it was really positive news that we got on him. He’s in good spirits, so we’ll get his knee cleaned up tomorrow. I know he’s going to attack the rehab the right way.”
While Jefferson rehabs to get back on the field, McVay will get a chance to see wideouts like Tutu Atwell, Brandon Powell, or Ben Skowronek vie to be that third cog in the team’s receiving corps.
“I think it’s really about guys maximizing on just playing to the best of their ability,” said McVay. “They know what an important part of our offense Van is. You definitely have those conversations ongoing and as you guys know football, there’s so many different injuries that can occur day in and day out so you always have to be ready with the way that you approach your weekly rhythm and your daily rhythm.”
Featured Image Caption: Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay (left) and quarterback Matthew Stafford confer during training camp practice on Aug. 1, 2022. Photo by Mark Hammond/News4usonline