Don’t worry, Rams coach Sean McVay warned.
Or is there?
Two days after McVay said quarterback Matthew Stafford still had pain in his right arm and that his workload would be reduced, the 14th-year pro didn’t throw a pass during Wednesday’s practice.
Check this out: He threw the ball with his left hand before practice started.
“That was part of the plan,” McVay said.
The goal is to get the 34-year-old Stafford in the opener on Sept. 8 against the Buffalo Bills — and beyond — with little or no discomfort in his throwing arm, McVay said.
As part of the Rams plan, McVay said Stafford will not participate in full-team drills during the next three days of practice at UC Irvine or during practice next week before the Rams return to Thousand Oaks.
“I don’t know if you’ll ever be truly pain-free when you’ve played as long and as strong as he is,” McVay said. “But the target would be for September 8 and really 17 games and then hopefully a few games after that if we take that opportunity.
“That’s kind of the perspective, the big picture approach that we want to take.”
Stafford is coming off a Super Bowl LVI win that earned him an overtime with $120 million in guarantees, according to overthecap.com. According to profootballreference.com, in 12 seasons with the Detroit Lions and one with the Rams, Stafford has thrown more than 7,000 passes during the regular season and playoffs.
So Stafford probably doesn’t need a lot of training camp repeaters to be ready for the Bills.
But the condition of Stafford’s right arm is an obvious concern for a team aiming to become the first in nearly two decades to win consecutive Super Bowl titles.
Last season, Stafford played in pain, passing 41 touchdowns with 17 interceptions. If he hadn’t endured a revenue-plagued three-game losing streak, he might have been an MVP contender by the end of the season.
Despite receiving an off-season injection in his arm and not throwing passes during organized team activities in the spring, he is not free of pain.
On Wednesday, Stafford gave up the ball a few times during individual practices. He then went to another field, taking phantom snaps and working on dropping back and rolling out. He also conducted drills under the watchful eye of a member of the Rams’ exercise science team.
But he didn’t raise his right hand above his head.
Is McVay concerned Stafford could still have the same arm problem despite the plan earlier in the season?
“Is there any chance of this conversation happening? Sure,” McVay said. “But based on the medical experts and the plan we spoke to Matthew, we think this is for the best.”
In recent days, the Rams have received unspecified “encouraging signs” that their plan is working, McVay said.
But time will tell.
“Being able to really give it a week, two weeks is where you take enough time to really see, ‘Okay, is this new plan that we’ve implemented producing the results that we’re looking for? ‘ ” he said.
Backup John Wolford snapped first-team snaps in Stafford’s place. Wolford wasn’t surprised when he stepped into the role on Monday.
“I think that was the plan from the start,” he said. “We knew training camp is long and Stafford has been playing for 16th year or whatever so there’s no reason to drive him into the ground.”
Star receiver Cooper Kupp didn’t sound concerned about Stafford’s ability to start the season with limited training camp reps.
“He’s played football at a very high level for a long time – he’ll be able to throw the stone,” said Kupp, adding, “He’s still as committed as ever and whenever the time comes that he’s can be out there and throw the ball, i know he will be ready.
Receiver Van Jefferson underwent surgery on his left knee Tuesday. McVay said that “there is a possibility” that Jefferson could be available for the opener. “I’ll have a better feeling for that when he actually gets into rehab,” he said. … Star defense attorney Aaron Donald was given the day off, McVay said.
https://www.latimes.com/sports/rams/story/2022-08-03/rams-training-camp-rest-matthew-stafford-sore-arm Rams resting Matthew Stafford’s sore arm through next week