The Los Angeles Rams stirred up some controversy this week when it was announced that star quarterback Matthew Stafford was dealing with elbow pain and they were continuing to limit his reps in training camp.
Rams Head Coach Sean McVay called the issue a “tricky deal” and something that was, in his experience, not normal for a quarterback. In fact, McVay likened it more to something an MLB pitcher might experience instead.
McVay also stated that the way they are handling this issue is totally new ground for him and that Stafford’s experience and mental toughness helps make McVay more confident in the team’s plan to rest and help Stafford heal.
McVay’s tough decision
Former NFL Head Coach and Contributor to The 33rd Team Dave Wannstedt believes that this is only an issue for the team if it reduces Stafford’s effectiveness or if Stafford can’t handle the pain.
“When you’ve got a guy like Stafford where he’s already limited, it’s not something he’s going to just work out in practice. It comes down to this for me: One, is he still effective throwing the ball? Two, can he tolerate the pain? Three, Is this something that’s going to get worse? That’s the criteria that Sean McVay will have to judge making a decision about his quarterback.”
Nothing new for the team
Stafford has been battling elbow pain even going into last season, when he led the Rams to a Super Bowl victory. The Rams have been monitoring this issue and came into the offseason with a plan to help alleviate the pain Stafford is feeling. While he has thrown in red zone and individual drills, Stafford did not participate in team drills for the last several practices.
McVay reassured Rams fans that the precautions are simply because the team cannot predict how Stafford’s arm will feel by midseason and want to control what they can before the season. Stafford was bothered by the arm pain last season but obviously couldn’t take days off.