Just about everything that could go wrong for the Los Angeles Rams last season did just that. Sean McVay’s team was ravaged by injuries with the most daunting among them being the spinal cord contusion suffered by quarterback Matthew Stafford.
Stafford missed the final eight games of the season as the Rams limped across the finish line. Stafford has dealt with his fair share of injuries throughout his 14-year NFL career and with him adding a Super Bowl championship to his resume, no one would have blamed Stafford if he wanted to retire now.
But not only will that not be the case, Stafford is actually healthy during the offseason and able to get going ahead of time to be ready for the season. And McVay believes it is the competitive fire inside Stafford that is driving him to have a big year, via Cameron DaSilva of USA Today:
“I think just the competitor that he is,” McVay said of why Stafford wants to continue playing. “He loves the game, he loves to be able to go play, he loves to go compete and I think when you look at some of the things that he had to navigate through last year, he’s motivated to come back and respond and lead. That’s what he’s done for such a long period of time. He certainly elevates everybody that he’s around. I think this is the first offseason in a long time that he’s actually feeling good. He’s been able to throw, he’s been able to kind of start his rhythm and routine a little bit earlier than previous years. He’s got a good look in his eye and I’m glad he’s leading the way for us.”
There is nothing left for Stafford to prove in his NFL career, especially after helping to lead the Rams to the Super Bowl two seasons ago. Had he decided to call it a career it would have made sense, but that’s just not the person he is.
Stafford is now looking to show he can come back from another rough injury and the fact that he is already working out and throwing as opposed to rehabbing an injury is a great sign for what to expect next season. The Rams have lost a lot of pieces this offseason, but with Stafford and Cooper Kupp on offense and Aaron Donald on defense, the Rams still have their core leaders and Stafford will be even more motivated than usual to have a great year.