Why Matthew Stafford’s best is yet to come for LA Rams offense

Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports /
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Matthew Stafford
Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports /

In just six games of the 2021 NFL season, LA Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford has thrown 200 passes, completed 139 times for 1,838 yards, 16 touchdowns, and just four interceptions.  On a linear projection, that looks like 5,208 yards, 45 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions. If he keeps up this pace, he will have a career-high season in just his first year with the Rams.

At this pace, he’ll also set the record for passing proficiency under Sean McVay. For that matter, he will shatter the Rams franchise passing records in a single season in both yardage and touchdown passes.  That is one helluva debut for anyone. But what if I were to tell you that his best is yet to come? Would you believe me?

Matthew Stafford will distribute the football even more evenly over the course of the LA Rams season. Well, when he has to do so. But he will follow a pattern of connecting with his top receiver until defenses force him to look elsewhere.  Will they do so?  Sooner or later, yes. Until then, Cooper Kupp will be among the NFL’s top receivers.

Reason I: He has yet to connect with TE Tyler Higbee

Matthew Stafford has thrown to his tight end Tyler Higbee no more than six times in one game, and only twice in six games this season. Truth be told, it appears that when the Rams are facing a determined defense, Stafford likes to look to his tight end.  So far, those passes to Higbee have an 88 percent completion rate, and an eight percent touchdown rate.

Those are phenomenal numbers.

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Starting in November 2021, the Rams schedule gets far more challenging. In those games, I would be surprised if Stafford does not get Higbee more involved in the offense. So how will that improve, rather than replace, his current passing proficiency? Simple. He’ll have more targets and better completion rates by throwing more often to Tyler Higbee.