Coach Sean McVay said Matthew Stafford’s elbow soreness is unusual for a football player and the Los Angeles Rams are trying to determine if it will hinder their starting quarterback during the regular season.
Stafford has been throwing in individual drills and 7-on-7 setups while skipping the full-team portions of the defending Super Bowl champions’ training camp practices at UC Irvine. Stafford had an unspecified injection in his elbow during the offseason, and he reported experiencing joint pain last month without any serious throwing during the Rams’ offseason program.
“It’s a little unusual for a quarterback,” McVay said Thursday. “Some of these things are things MLB pitchers deal with, so we’re learning on the fly with his feedback.”
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McVay emphasized that Stafford will be able to do more in practice and possibly play in a game this week, but the Rams are trying to figure out how to keep him healthy during their season.
“I want him to try to operate with as little pain as possible,” McVay said. “I think anytime you play as long and as tough as him, I don’t know if you’re really pain-free, but the goal is September 8th and I’m really looking at 17 games, and then some games, if we get that opportunity. That’s kind of the perspective and the big-picture approach that we want to take. I don’t know if I would have felt so comfortable taking that approach if not for the experience he has gathered. “
McVay said the Rams are trying “a modified approach and a progressive rebuild” with Stafford, who played through unspecified soreness last season in his wildly successful West Coast debut. The veteran quarterback passed for 4,886 yards and 41 touchdowns last season, leading Los Angeles to four straight playoff victories and its first Super Bowl title after returning home from St. Louis.
Stafford’s injury gives him less time to get in sync with new receiver Allen Robinson, but they are spending extra time studying film with Super Bowl MVP Cooper Kupp to build their chemistry for the season.
“He’s our leader, so whatever he sees, whatever he feels, whatever he wants from the quarterback spot, we make sure we’re getting those things done,” Robinson said.
McVay said tight end Jacob Harris will be out “probably a few weeks” with a groin strain. Harris didn’t catch a catch last season as a rookie fourth-round pick.