Matthew Stafford returned to the practice field to open training camp after not throwing during spring workouts due to an elbow issue. But the Los Angeles Rams continue to manage how much work the Super Bowl-winning quarterback gets in the ramp-up to the regular season.
Coach Sean McVay said Monday that Stafford is still dealing with discomfort, so they scaled back the workload.
“We’d lessened Matthew’s workload today,” McVay said, via the team’s transcript. “Really when we look at it, we’ve got five weeks until September 8. He’s still feeling a little bit of pain, he could push through it. You guys have been out here, he’s been throwing and competing in team settings. We felt like the smart thing was let’s really just take it a week at a time. He ended up getting about 40 to 50 throws in individual. We didn’t take part in the team activities and that’s really more a result of he’s got so much experience.”
Stafford’s elbow required an anti-inflammatory shot at one point this offseason while the Rams rested the quarterback. The key is ensuring that the discomfort doesn’t balloon into a bigger concern.
“The most important thing is for him feeling good and healthy on September 8,” McVay said of the prime-time season opener against the Buffalo Bills. “We could certainly push and he could really grind through this, but that’s not the goal with somebody like him. It’s not something that we’re concerned about. We just want to be really smart with somebody that is as important as our quarterback is and as experienced as he is to be able to put together a plan that we feel like is in his best interest and in our team’s best interest. So that’s kind of where we’re at with that, but thought it was a great day for us.”
While the Rams want Stafford healthy for Week 1, it’s equally important that the elbow issue not rear its head later in the season if not sufficiently healed in the next few weeks. Throughout his career, Stafford has played through a myriad of injuries. No one questions his toughness, but issues to the throwing arm aren’t something to mess with or dismiss.
With the Rams off Tuesday, we’ll see how much throwing Stafford does when practices resume. We’re unlikely to see Stafford in any preseason action — that’d be the case without the elbow concerns — meaning backup John Wolford will get a lot of reps.
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