The Los Angeles Rams shook up its future after acquiring star quarterback Matthew Stafford. It didn’t take long for Stafford to leave a strong impression on his new team well ahead of the 2021 season. It’s led to another crystal-clear example of Stafford‘s massive immediate impact in Los Angeles.
Matthew Stafford lands with the Rams
Shortly after the Rams bowed out of the playoffs, the front office went through a significant change under center.
After five seasons, Los Angeles elected to move off Jared Goff with a blockbuster trade to acquire Stafford. it effectively pushes the franchise in a new direction with a proven commodity that struggled to find success with the Detroit Lions.
The Rams are taking on the final two years of Stafford’s deal worth roughly $43 million, along with an approximately $22 million dead cap hit due to trading Goff. In the brief time that’s followed, Stafford continues to make a notable impact on the Rams.
Matthew Stafford is already making a game-changing impact on the Rams before the 2021 season: ‘I noticed it’
As Stafford moves through his first training camp with the Rams, his new teammates have quickly felt his presence.
The 33-year-old’s impact on the practice field has led to plenty of praise. Star pass rusher Leonard Floyd provided another telling comment, voicing that Stafford is making the defense perform at a higher level.
“I noticed it,” Floyd said via Mike Florio Pro Football Talk. “I think it’s Matthew. He [is] a veteran quarterback, so he [is] making it [a] little tougher at practice, and that ain’t doing nothing but making us better on defense.”
Floyd’s remarks are not a slight toward Goff but instead speak to Stafford’s talent as his play on the practice field has become increasingly noticeable. He brings another element to the Rams’ offense that wasn’t there before his arrival.
It’s a different level of intensity that only draws more confidence from Floyd about the future ahead with Stafford under center.
“He’s been dropping dimes, really,” Floyd said. “He was in the same division when I was with Chicago, so I pretty much know. Yeah, he’s really good.”
It may only be the practice field, but it’s a definite plus that the former Pro Bowler is already making a strong impression on his teammates and coaches alike. The proof will need to be in the pudding once the 2021 season begins. However, it all sets a promising tone concerning what may lie ahead.
Super Bowl expectations lie ahead
For better or worse, Stafford‘s arrival to Los Angeles immediately brought forth Super Bowl 56 expectations.
The 33-year-old is widely viewed as an upgrade under center with an opportunity to excel working in McVay’s offense. Despite losing second-year running back Cam Akers for the 2021 season, the Rams still possess a plethora of talent around Stafford.
It places a significant amount of pressure on the former Pro Bowler to elevate the franchise toward more than an NFC West division title or even a playoff berth. The Rams will have difficult challenges ahead, starting with the rest of the NFC West before considering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Green Bay Packers.
Meanwhile, Stafford is heading into his first real opportunity to potentially vie for a Super Bowl. The Rams are stacked on both sides of the ball with the talent to make a deep playoff push.
It all sets the table for Stafford to be the difference-maker the team envisions him to be.
Contract figures courtesy of Spotrac.