About a month ago, the San Francisco 49ers (for now) All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman went out a-trolling LA Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford on his podcast with Cris Collinsworth in which he said he thought the new Rams signal-caller could pass for 5,000-plus yards this season. Stafford didn’t take the bait and didn’t respond at the time.
More specifically, here’s what Sherman said,
“In this offense, he’s going to have so many opportunities for layup plays where it’s just pitch-and-catch that I think he goes for 5,000 yards.” – Richard Sherman per Chris Collinsworth podcast
Let the record show that in 2011, Stafford did just that, throwing for 5,038 yards, mostly to Detroit Lions star WR Calvin Johnson, err, Megatron. Then he followed that up the following year by narrowly missing the mark with 4,967 yards.
And now it’s a 17-game NFL season. So if you take his career per-game passing average of 273.4 yards per game times 17 games, that’s 4,647 yards – just a mere 350 yards short of the 5k-milestone. Overlaying that production into the LA Rams offense? 5,000 yards is a good projection.
But that was before the Rams nabbed one of the speediest wide receivers in the entire draft with their first pick in Louisville’s Tutu Atwell, a receiver with such blazing speed he can stretch the field horizontally for Stafford’s aerial bombs. Atwell has been clocked at 4.27-seconds in his 40-yard dash, one of the fastest of the year.
And that was before the Rams drafted a dynamic (and dynamically tall!) tight end from the University of Central Florida in Jacob Harris, a receiver who can stretch the field vertically for Stafford and present him with a delicious red-zone target as well, with his height and ability to wrest contested 50-50 balls away from defender’s grasps.
And finally, that was before the Rams drafted Notre Dame wide receiver Ben Skowronek, who the pundits all think will merely be a special teams player if he makes the roster at all, but he just might surprise and latch on with the team. He too is a big target at 6-foot-3 and 220-pounds, and he has a solid reputation of winning at contested catches.
The Rams got their gunslinger in Stafford. And now they got targets a-plenty for him in a wide receivers room that is chock full. Hey Sherman, will you gimme some odds on 6,000 yards? Double or nothing?