10:37 PM ET
- Covered Rams for two years for Los Angeles Times
- Previously covered the Falcons
- Has covered the NBA and college football and basketball
IRVINE, Calif. — He certainly did not appear the role during his first training camp practice with the Los Angeles Rams, but after the workout, quarterback Matthew Stafford said that part of him feels like a rookie.
“It’s brand new,” said Stafford, who was traded to the Rams this offseason after 12 seasons in Detroit. “I’m walking around trying to learn everybody’s name and who does what and all that kind of stuff. So trying to perform at a high level in that atmosphere is a challenge but I’m loving it.”
Stafford appeared a savvy veteran throughout Wednesday’s practice.
During team play, he zipped a pass to receiver Cooper Kupp on the far sideline, then later found receiver DeSean Jackson through a busted defense for a deep touchdown pass that sent fans in attendance wild.
“It seems like he feels very comfortable out here,” Rams coach Sean McVay said. “There’s a lot of little nuances and we’re just still getting things figured out … but he definitely has great command, and I think we could all feel that.”
Stafford joins an offense that returns seven starters, including tackles Andrew Whitworth and Rob Havenstein, receivers Robert Woods and Kupp and tight end Tyler Higbee. Third-year pro Darrell Henderson will start at running back after Cam Akers ruptured an Achilles tendon prior to training camp.
“The best part for me is that when I step into that huddle, I call that play, I got 10 other guys that are going to do their job so as long as I can do my job,” said Stafford, who owns every all-time passing record in Detroit. “We’re going to be where we want to be, and that’s a lucky feeling for me as a quarterback just knowing that I’ve got guys with great accountability, great experience in the huddle with me.”
McVay said Stafford has “seamlessly acclimated” himself with the Rams, but Stafford’s goal through the first few practices is to continue to learn his new surroundings.
“I can sit in the classroom with Sean and all the other quarterbacks and those guys and just talk about it ad nauseum, but at the same time we’ve got to go out here and play,” Stafford said. “I’m just trying to soak it all in and just trying to get as comfortable as I can, as quickly as I can.”
The Rams acquired Stafford by trading quarterback Jared Goff, two first-round picks and a third-round pick to the Lions only two weeks after their 2020 season ended in a divisional playoff loss to the Green Bay Packers.
The Rams hope that the 33-year-old Stafford will help turn around an offense that has been in decline since a Super Bowl LIII loss to the New England Patriots and that he can power the Rams to another Super Bowl run.
Stafford has two seasons remaining on a current five-year, $135 million contract.