LA Rams: Matthew Stafford raising bar on offense and defense

Mandatory Credit: John McCoy-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: John McCoy-USA TODAY Sports /

If any young offensive lineman on the LA Rams roster lines up opposite All-Pro Aaron Donald at training camp and holds his own, you can bet that he will do well in the regular season.  Who can he possibly face who will be better, stronger, more agile?  It’s the classic forge principle – the better the competition, the better the player becomes. So that now holds true for the LA Rams secondary, or at least it should be easy to equate that similarity.

Competition is a basis for improvement. The better the competition, the more productive the results. While few equate any of the LA Rams offensive line to All-Pro caliber players, they train day in and day out against one of the toughest defensive lines in the NFL, led by the All-Pro Donald himself. That constantly facing the best prepares the offensive line to face the best in the NFL on any given game day.

Now what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. The LA Rams defensive secondary is being pushed to their limits by the strong-armed lyin’-eyes veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford. Stafford is an entirely new starting quarterback, with a completely new pattern of throwing the football, and an entirely new set of keys to read by the savvy secondary stars.

It’s a good change, a positive change if you limit the focus to the Rams training camp and how the presence of Stafford has changed the cadence of preparing for a new NFL season. This is a new quarterback, whose traits and tendencies are entirely different from that of former quarterback Jared Goff.  As such, receivers are getting deeper routes, passes are coming out a bit quicker with a lot more zip, and the cheat code of reading the quarterback’s eyes no longer works.

So far, the battle is truly improving both the offense and the defense. Offensively, the ball is always in play to reach the end zone. Defensively, the secondary is truly being tested. The defensive backs cannot half-ass their coverages in this training camp. They have to work hard, push harder, and truly reach their limits to make plays on the ball.

For All-Pro defensive back Jalen Ramsey? Challenge accepted

There you go. Jalen Ramsey isn’t deflecting passes in this training camp. He’s putting up a pick-six and showcasing his newly-designated Madden 99 ranking.  Ah, but before you freak out over Matthew Stafford tossing a pick-six too quickly? He got one back just as quickly.

Now it’s getting good folks. This is a clash of elites, and the results in the Rams training camp show it. Why get excited? Either the defense is giving up touchdown throws, or the quarterback is giving up interceptions for touchdowns?

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This is training camp folks. This is the appropriate time for Matthew Stafford to attempt squeezing the football in a narrow window. This is the time for Jalen Ramsey to take one to the house. This is the time to push beyond the comfort zone and test everything, try anything. This is how iron sharpens iron. So far, it appears like these LA Rams are taking this to an entirely different level.