If there is any player who the LA Rams cannot afford to bench due to injury in the 2021 season it’s veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford. No, Stafford is neither fragile nor brittle. In fact, he strung together eight complete consecutive seasons without missing a single game. Of the 192 possible games to be played over his 12 season career, Stafford played in 165 games. That means he’s missed just 27 games in his 12 years in the NFL, and 19 of those missed games occurred in his first two seasons.
However you see this LA Rams team, and quarterback situation, there is one thing that seems very clear. If the LA Rams lose Matthew Stafford for any length of time, the Rams will find it tough to win games in 2021. What about John Wolford? While he won his one-and-only NFL start in a must-win against the Arizona Cardinals, his numbers were not exactly impressive. His 22 of 38 passes for 231 yards and one interception were workable. But his 57.8 percent completion was a bit light, as was the 6.1 yards per attempt. He did manage to scramble six times to move the chains, but that is not something the Rams have baked into this offense.
This team was built for Stafford, and the customization for his skill set has been rather extensive. The Rams have added deep threats, big targets, and have emphasized pass-catching with new additions, even at the tight end position. Head coach Sean McVay personally lobbied the team’s owner to bring Stafford to the LA Rams. Either you have to think that McVay is losing it, or that Stafford will be a great fit for what the Rams want to do. I’d go with the latter.
No, Stafford is not the second coming. But he has a broader range of talents at quarterback than the Rams have benefitted from for four seasons. This is McVay’s offense, and he singularly believes that the new veteran quarterback can deliver the ball where it needs to be when it needs to be there. Since McVay writes the script for the offense, I’m going out on a limb and say he’s correct.
If Stafford is on the bench, sure McVay can write a new script for a new QB. But this roster was built around Stafford, and the expectation is that Stafford will answer each and every bell to suit up and lead the LA Rams team. He’s been able to lead his team in all games played 75 percent of the time. There’s no reason to expect otherwise now.