Stafford still got it
Need more proof? Here are some passing stats from NFL Next Gen Stats that you may find interesting:
- Time to throw - 2.72 seconds - 13th fastest in the NFL
- Avg Completed Air Yards - 6.6 - 3rd longest in the NFL
- Aggressiveness - 13.6 % - 15th in the NFL
- Longest completion - 51 yards - 21st in the NFL
While you may not be astonished with some of Stafford's numbers, here is some more information to help you frame his 2023 NFL season. Stafford's top receivers this season:
- Rookie WR Puka Nacua - 73 of 111, 924 yards, 3 TDs
- WR Tutu Atwell - 36 of 60, 467 yards, 3 TDs (previously 18 of 35, 298 yd, 1 TD)
- WR Cooper Kupp - 27 of 51, 393 yards, 1 TD (played 7 of 11 games)
- TE Tyler Higbee - 32 of 51, 332 yards, 2 TDs
- RB Kyren Williams - 19 of 30, 166 yards, 3 TDs (played 7 of 11 games)
There is not a lot of accomplished experience in the group now.
Rams need Stafford to elevate offensive weapons
With the list above, do any of the names invoke fear or concern in secondaries around the NFL just yet? The Rams deliberately reformulated their offense this season, but the truth is that both Cooper Kupp and Stafford himself have been injured this year. That means that the Rams passing attack, once rostered by some of the best receivers in the NFL, has been forced to allow rookie Puka Nacua and seldom-used speedster Tutu Atwell to do the heavy lifting for the team this season.
The Rams had parted ways with veteran WR Allen Robinson before the 2023 NFL season and traded Van Jefferson after just five games. Since the Rams front office has been content to allow the team to compete with untested receivers, it's logical to assume that the Rams foresee Stafford as the pilot flying this offense until the offensive skill players are well-established.
While the 2024 NFL Draft may be very tempting to add a quarterback to develop in the future, do the Rams see it that way? When the Rams were 3-6, I was firmly convinced that the Rams would be selecting a quarterback in the upcoming draft. Now? I'm not as certain. If the Rams can string together wins to make a playoff push in 2023, I'm convinced that this team will view the 2024 NFL Draft as the pitstop for the final touches to make another run at the Lombardi Trophy.
Stafford has already led the LA Rams to one NFL Championship win. If the Rams earn a playoff berth this season, I cannot see the Rams turning over the keys to an untested rookie next year.
LA Rams veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford is not hanging up his cleats just yet. And depending how the 2023 NFL season turns out, that may very likely be what the LA Rams are counting on.