The Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals — Super Bowl combatants just seven months ago — both got off to rough starts to the season. Charles Davis recognizes that a Super Bowl hangover can be real but also acknowledges it might be the wake-up call both teams needed.
Sean McVay has never lost a season opener as the Los Angeles Rams coach. Charles Davis praises McVay for his ability to have his team consistently ready to start the season, outlining several key numbers showing the Rams’ red-hot starts under their coach. Could McVay not playing starters in the preseason be his secret?
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.
Today on Coordinator’s Corner, I am going to break down a Matthew Stafford read play against his old team. In this series, I break down some of the best plays and designs from the previous football week and help you to understand why players and coaches come to the decisions they due with different play designs.
My experience comes from being the Chicago Bears’ head coach for two seasons before departing. Other stops in my coaching career include going to the CFL where I was the coach for the Montreal Alouettes. With Montreal, I would coach my way into four Grey Cups and win three of them in the process. Throw into the mix the coaching in both a college National Championship and Super Bowl as well and you can realize I have seen, taught, and learned from the best over my lengthy career.
Now, as a contributor with The 33rd Team, I am looking at the Los Angeles Rams matchup against the Detroit Lions.
In this matchup, we see Matthew Stafford make a great read in his first start against his former team. The Lions knew how to scheme against Stafford in this matchup, it was clear early. However, the Rams and Stafford were able to overcome these hurdles thanks to play design and Stafford’s playmaking ability. The throw that he makes here is some arm wizardry that any can and should appreciate. One of the more impressive throws you will see be made in the league this year.
How did this play materialize despite the coverage? How did Stafford make this read? Allow me and my 39 years of experience working with offenses, and quarterbacks specifically, to explain the game in a way not many can as we break down this incredible read and throw by Stafford.
This is the Coordinator’s Corner: A Stafford Read.