Matthew Stafford moved his family to Los Angeles after requesting a trade out of Detroit with one goal in mind: win a Super Bowl.
The time has come and the trek to achieve that goal starts this Sunday. Stafford will make his highly anticipated debut, taking his first snap under center in a Rams uniform. After numerous practices and scrimmages throughout training camp, the time has come. And just how excited is Stafford to do so?
“I’m excited to just go play ball," Stafford said Wednesday. "I love doing this. A bunch of different changes for me this offseason too, battled through a bunch of things, moved my family across the country. I want to go play some football and do it with a group of guys that I’ve, in a short period of time, grown to just absolutely love and respect. I mean, all these guys on this team are incredible – just the way they practice, the way they go about their business, coaches included. Just excited to go out there with these guys as a team and see what we got.”
Stafford will be given the keys to coach Sean McVay's offense and attempt to go above and beyond the places that Jared Goff could take it in recent seasons.
The Rams have a ton of mouths for Stafford to feed on offense. From the bevy of receiving options to the duo of Sony Michel and Darrell Henderson, who will hold down the ground attack, Stafford has the tools around him to thrive.
“I feel like I’m excited every time the season starts, Stafford said. "We put a ton of work into this. You guys see us out here, practicing in the summer and leading up to it, but there’s so much work that goes into this starting months ago. So, it’s just an exciting time to go out there and be able to go play against somebody else. We’ve had a great camp and a nice little start to the week here. We get to go against a great defense every single day. They get to go, hopefully, against what they feel like is a really good offense giving them tests. So, it’s fun to finally kind of get out there and go play somebody else and then see where we are.”
Stafford and the offense have been working in practice against the reigning No. 1 ranked defense of the Rams. Now under the supervision of defensive coordinator Raheem Morris, the scheme will have several overlaps to the system that Brandon Staley installed last year.
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The Rams will face the Chicago Bears in Stafford's debut inside SoFi Stadium for the first regular-season game with fans. Stafford said Wednesday that he has some familiarity with a few players on Chicago, from playing against them in previous years.
“I know a bunch of the guys on their team," Stafford said. "I’ve played against a bunch of those guys. They’ve got a new defensive coordinator, so that’ll be different and new for us. Some new players in some different spots. I’m used to seeing the Bears a couple of times a year and I’m just going to be wearing a different uniform playing them this time.”
Stafford has faced the Bears twice a year for 12 seasons during his time in Detroit, playing in the NFC North. Stafford is 11-9 all-time against the Bears in his career, but arguably his most anticipated contest yet, will come against them representing a new franchise.
Stafford has passed for over 5,000 yards one time in his career. With the NFL expanding the schedule, adding an extra regular-season game, perhaps Stafford will look to reach rare territory in his first season in Los Angeles.
Only time will tell how the Stafford era unfolds, but he's extremely eager to quit the talking of the offseason and get going in live-action.
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Nick Cothrel is the Publisher of Ram Digest. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickCothrel.