Matthew Stafford and LA Rams take 1st step to hammer out extension
What’s behind door 2022?
If you recall the early components of the LA Rams 2021 training camp, you may remember that the Rams ran most of the early drills through backup quarterback John Wolford. Matthew Stafford worked separately and independently to learn the offense, the playbook, and the players. While it did not seem to have a significant impact on the team, it did begin the season with only partial chemistry with his receivers.
While that chemistry never truly congealed with the receivers throughout the season, due to a rather rapidly changing active roster, it was not the only hiccup. The LA Rams hoped to have a strong and viable running game in 2021, but that never developed. In the end, the best efforts from the running game in the season happened when the backup offensive center, Coleman Shelton, started three games for the Rams, and backup running back Sony Michel was entrusted to start the game.
Second verse, better than the first?
After putting up an incredible seasonal debut for the LA Rams, what is the second year about to look like? Well, if the Rams offense is less volatile with wide receiver injuries, I could project that Stafford could come in with 455 of 650 passes for 5200 yards, 45 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions.
While the NFL will likely work harder to defend Cooper Kupp next season, the Rams will get both veteran wide receivers Robert Woods and Odell Beckham Jr (pending re-signing OBJ), will get TE Tyler Higbee back, and could see more from young wide receivers Van Jefferson, Ben Skowronek, Jacob Harris, and Tutu Atwell.
I also do not believe that the LA Rams are close to content with the outcome of the team’s running game, and will take steps to improve both the run blocking and the ball carriers into 2022. Now, that could mean a couple of things, from reworking that Rams offensive line, to reworking the Rams running backs, to changing play configurations to give more oomph to the team’s running attack. The Rams know that signing Stafford to a five-year contract is one thing. Keeping him upright and healthy will take a much better running game in 2022.