The Los Angeles Rams aren’t planning to rush quarterback Matthew Stafford back in the saddle. That said, the franchise isn’t opposed to him taking the steps in the right direction to start prior to Week 1.
Stafford, 34, was a full-go Tuesday working with the Rams’ offense during the team’s intrasquad scrimmage. And while the elbow has yet to return to 100 percent, Stafford said he feels “right on track” to face the Buffalo Bills in the season opener on Sept. 8.
"I'm just going out there, doing my work [and] trusting the process that we have," Stafford said Wednesday. "I know that I'm able to go out there and function at a high level right now. So whatever it feels like, hopefully, continues to keep getting better as it has.”
Stafford received an injection in his right elbow at the start of the offseason after playing with discomfort for the majority of last season. His reps have been limited since the start of spring, entering training camp on a throwing schedule.
Over the past three weeks, the throws have ramped up. According to Rams coach Sean McVay, Stafford is taking the right precautions to make sure there aren’t any setbacks. After watching Tuesday’s scrimmage, McVay said there shouldn’t be cause for concern entering the regular season.
“Based on evaluating him throwing the football, he looked like the Matthew that I know,” McVay said. “And that's the most important thing. That was kind of the goal all along.”
Stafford said he still is dealing with soreness in his elbow, but the pain is manageable. He’s back in the weight room and will continue to work the rails and kettlebells to strengthen his arm in hopes of returning close to 2021 form.
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On Tuesday, Stafford threw over 75 balls during the team's scrimmage. The throws ranged from all angles and distances, some of which were deep downfield.
McVay said that Stafford’s throwing motion was trending in a positive step forward. He said the throws – while limited – "looked great" throughout practice.
Stafford is not expected to play in the preseason, but Los Angeles is expecting its starter to be ready to face quarterback Josh Allen in what could be a preview of Super Bowl LVII.
“Matthew is the expert and the one to be able to explain how he's feeling,” McVay said. “But I know from my evaluation, I feel really good about what I've seen from him.”
The Rams are set to face the Houston Texans on Friday at SoFi Stadium.
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