The buzz surrounding the Los Angeles Rams through five games has been the arm of Matthew Stafford and how he’s changed the landscape of the offense.
Rams legend and Super Bowl winner Kurt Warner has recognized the difference, saying on his “Study Ball” You Tube video that Stafford is making the drop back chunk play throws that Stafford’s predecessor Jared Goff couldn’t make. Pro Football Focus writer Seth Galina wrote on September 21 that the Rams “can create explosive plays out of thin air with Stafford’s arm strength and willingness to push the ball downfield.”
Cooper Kupp and recently, Robert Woods, have had breakout games as the normal 1-2 combo for the Rams offense through Stafford. But here’s where the Rams offense are most dangerous per QB1: When the football gets spread around.
“I’m trying to do my best and spread the ball around because I do think when we’re spreading the ball around and the defense has to cover and honor everybody that we’re sending vertical, that’s when we’re at our best,” Stafford told the L.A. media on Wednesday, October 13.
Taking What the Defense Gives Stafford
Much of Stafford’s career revolved around how he constantly fed Calvin “Megatron” Johnson and then later, Kenny Golladay. And early on in his L.A. tenure, Kupp caught between 7-9 Stafford passes in the first three weeks of the year.
However, “Bobby Trees” put together his first stellar evening of 2021 on Thursday, October 7: 12 catches for 150 yards in the 26-17 road win over the Seattle Seahawks.
Stafford said Woods’ big night were by a result of the ‘Hawks defense leaving openings in their coverage for Woods to exploit.
“That’s just the game. Certain defenses are going to allow you to throw the ball into certain places. Robert was in those places and he did a great job of making the most of the opportunities,” Stafford said. “He had some great catches going down and getting the ball a couple of times, catching and running on some balls.”
Another reason? How head coach Sean McVay throws an array of attacks on defense, knowing when to use what schemes.
“Sean does a great job of mixing and matching: We’re moving the pocket, we’re running play-action, we’re running quick game and we’re trying to keep the defense on their toes as much as we possibly can,” Stafford explained.
Stafford’s Sixth Meeting Versus Giants
For his career, the 33-year-old Stafford is 3-2 overall against Sunday’s opponent the New York Giants. However, he’s guided his teams to victories over NYG in three of the last four meetings.
And according to Pro Football Reference, Stafford has thrown for more than 300 yards in two meetings (2014 and 2019).
The 4-1 Rams are the heavy 9.5 favorite to surpass the 1-4 Giants, but Stafford sees a lot of athleticism from the Giants defense in breaking them down.
“They’ve got a bunch of first round picks, two really good corners, two really good safeties, some interior defensive linemen that are special players,” Stafford said. “So it’s not hard to understand what the task is at hand.”
In the meantime, Stafford will aim to continue to spread the ball around. Just because Woods had his astronomical night and Kupp has posted back-to-back 100-yard games to start the year doesn’t mean every game will trek that way for the Rams.
“I’m just trying to make sure that I get the ball to the appropriate receiver,” Stafford said.