The Matthew Stafford era in Los Angeles is still in its infancy, but there’s already plenty of hype surrounding what this new marriage could produce heading into 2021. The Rams made the first big splash of the offseason after trading for Stafford in late January in a deal with the Lions that saw former franchise quarterback Jared Goff shipped to Detroit as part of the trade. While Stafford is around seven years older than Goff, the motivation to make a move of this magnitude is to cash in on the roster that’s currently constructed in L.A. and make a bid for the Super Bowl as soon as possible. With Stafford — a much more explosive passer than Goff — under center, the Rams’ ceiling over the next few years is higher.
How much higher? That is still to be determined. By all accounts, however, the early returns on Stafford appear to be good. In fact, with the offseason program wrapped up, coach Sean McVay noted that his new quarterback has exceeded expectations.
“Bro, this dude’s a bad (expletive),” McVay told Albert Breer of the MMQB. “Whatever people say about him, as good as it can be, he’s even better than advertised. It makes sense to him. The guy’s ability to see the game, his ability to draw on his experiences, the feel that he has, it’s pretty special and unique. And man, his feel for people, his authentic way of connecting with his teammates, his coaches, this guy, it’s great being around him.”
Stafford spent his first 12 seasons in the NFL with the Lions and saw little team success over that stretch. Detroit reached the playoffs just three times over the quarterback’s tenure and was sent home in each of those contests. For Stafford, the last time he was able to get a taste of playoff football came in January 2017 — a 26-6 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
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That is expected to not only change in Los Angeles, but the Rams are one of the sexy picks to win Super Bowl LVI. Given that they were able to upgrade the quarterback position with Stafford and continue to deploy a defense with Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey, it’s hard to not envision a scenario where they’re playing for a Lombardi.
“You’re not gonna run away from the expectations,” McVay said. “Every single team in the NFL has one goal right now, and that’s to win a Super Bowl. And I believe the teams that know, and the teams that have actually accomplished that, they know that you only do that by being where your feet are planted. The one thing that I would say, there’s a belief in the ability to do what we want to be able to do. Now, you don’t do that unless you are where your feet are planted. But there’s a belief, there’s a confidence in the people you’re around.
“And when you enjoy that? We’re not gonna ask anybody to do anything that’s more than they can actually accomplish. And there’s a real peace of mind that accompanies that if you know, hey, there’s got to be hard work, there’s got to be a process, there’s got to be standards that we uphold day in and day out. But you know what? If we do those things, I believe we can go into games, and expect to be able to come away with the result that we want.”
According to the latest odds at William Hill Sportsbook, McVay’s team is tied with the 49ers and Ravens for the fourth-best odds (+1400) to win the title next season.