Is LA Rams QB Matthew Stafford ready for the 2023 NFL season?

Los Angeles Rams Matthew Stafford
Los Angeles Rams Matthew Stafford / Stacy Revere/GettyImages

After appearing to be custom-made for the LA Rams offense when he arrived in 2021, veteran quarterback appeared to age very quickly for the team in the 2022 NFL season. Of course, that was not all on him, as the Rams offensive line failed to hold up their end of the bargain and protect the veteran pocket passer whose ability to scramble has never been feared by opposing defenses.

The Rams' offense seemed to lose that instant progression read and throwing to the right receiver that seemed to be so refreshing the previous year. In turn, the Rams' offense appeared to become far too predictable, and it was almost impossible not to view Stafford as part of the problem. But was there more to the matter?

If you recall one year ago, there was a great deal of discussion over Matthew Stafford's throwing elbow. It was pooh-poohed by the LA Rams, but the concerns took on a life of their own, eventually being labeled "Elbowgate," by some creative NFL insiders, pundits, and analysts. Concerns over his throwing elbow, and therefore his ability to pass, followed Stafford into Game 1 against the Buffalo Bills.

As Stafford goes, so go the Rams

When the LA Rams extended quarterback Matthew Stafford for four years and $160 million, the team pretty much married their offense to Stafford through 2026. But after a pounding in the 2022 NFL season, will Stafford remain healthy enough to meet the full duration of the contract? Will the Rams want him to?

As it now stands, the LA Rams quarterback needs to find and sign some young guns to learn from the master, Matthew Stafford. Hopefully, the Rams will add players, either rookies or veterans, who have a similar style and skillset as Stafford. Historically, the Rams have gone with a starter who is a pocket passer, yet been willing to stockpile dual-threat quarterbacks on the roster as backups.

The LA Rams will need multiple quarterbacks for training camp. However the Rams act during the 2023 NFL Draft, I truly expect the team to sign at least two undrafted rookie quarterback after the draft.

In terms of Stafford's health and his preparedness for the 2023 NFL season, this could be the healthiest version of Matthew Stafford that the LA Rams have seen yet. Much like his favorite target, wide receiver Cooper Kupp, the Rams shut down Stafford after just nine games. As a result, he has been resting since December 2022, and has already had more rest and recovery time than he has before the Rams opened training camp last season.

At this point, I believe that it's safe to say that if Stafford stays healthy, he could put up 4200+ yards and 30 touchdowns season. Of course, that presumes that the Rams offensive line will be healthy and effective, that the Rams will try to balance their passing with a stronger commitment to the running game, and that the Rams will throw the football to a number of targets.

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I won't lie. though. I'm hoping that my off-the-hip projections are wrong. I would love to see Matthew Stafford throw for more than 5000 yards and 45 touchdowns for the LA Rams this year. From what I see about the state of the Rams defense currently, he may need to do so to give the Rams a fighting chance to win some games this season.