Can Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford still hurl a deep ball?

Los Angeles Rams Offseason Workout Matthew Stafford
Los Angeles Rams Offseason Workout Matthew Stafford / Jayne Kamin-Oncea/GettyImages

The LA Rams are about to make their final wave(s) of cuts to achieve their initial 53-player limit imposed by NFL regulations as of Tuesday, August 29, 2023, at 1:00 pm PT. But as we sit and ponder who may not be continuing their NFL careers in horns, and who will continue their career in horns, we have a pause in the action that is long enough to discuss the status of LA Rams veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford.

This is the third season of Matthew Stafford playing on the Rams roster, and by all accounts, is sizing up to be his healthiest season yet. And yet, the LA Rams offense is almost lynch-pinned to the achievements or struggles of Stafford this season.

Much like 2022.

Man, Desean Jackson could stretch a football field

But in 2021, the enthusiasm of acquiring the hard-throwing hurler in former Detroit Lions veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford prompted the LA Rams to seek out not just one, but two blazing-fast wide receivers. The first was veteran WR DeSean Jackson, whose ability to stretch the football field was apparent when Stafford connected with him for a 75-yard touchdown strike. Much like the long bombs that Desean Jackson featured in his social media message below:

Jackson was released mid-season due to his discontent over a lack of use in the Rams offense.

The other was the fleet-footed phenomenal rookie receiver Tutu Atwell, who remains on the Rams roster even to this day. In fact, if the Rams depth chart is remotely accurate, Atwell will start as one of three wide receivers in the LA Rams base 11-package offense. But his promotion is contingent upon one very critical factor:

Can Matthew Stafford still launch the long-ball effectively?

Proof's in the pudding

If you look over the LA Rams roster and the current projected starting receivers, you will note that both Tutu Atwell and fellow wide receiver Van Jefferson are in position to be targeted frequently in the LA Rams offense in 2023. And if you look over their most effective plays, both are quite adept at stretching the football field. In fact, you could even conclude that long pass plays fall in their wheelhouse.

But long pass plays take time to develop. That means that there will be a great deal of pressure on this new iteration of the LA Rams offensive line to create and sustain a formidable pocket for Matthew Stafford to set up shop. And it also means that Stafford is going to be bombs away this season.

While I believe that the Rams will attempt to run the football more effectively this season, I fear that the status of the overall Rams roster will leave this team playing from behind more often than not, particularly early in the season. Not only will the Rams success depend on limiting quarterback sacks, but the will need vintage Matthew Stafford and his ability to create those miraculous fourth-quarter comebacks to win some games this year.

Must read. 2023 Rams roster cuts tracker. 2023 LA Rams roster cuts tracker: The journey to a 53-man Rams roster. dark

I don't know about you, but my gut tells me that Stafford is absolutely up to the task.