THOUSAND OAKS, California – Although far from settling in Southern California after 12 seasons with the Detroit Lions, new Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford is already embracing the expectations of a Super Bowl career in Los Angeles. .
“Sometimes it feels like the pressure is a positive thing, I love it,” Stafford said Friday during an introductory video. “I want to play in those great games and those great moments, so for me, it’s an opportunity more than anything.”
The Rams acquired Stafford from Detroit in exchange for quarterback Jared Goff, a 2021 third-round pick and 2022 and 2023 first-round picks. The deal was agreed on January 30, but made official on Thursday, a day after the start of the new league year.
Rams coach Sean McVay, who won two division titles, an NFC championship and made a Super Bowl LIII appearance with Goff in four seasons, said the opportunity to acquire a player of Stafford’s caliber presented a challenge. unique opportunity.
“Being able to acquire someone like him was an opportunity where we wanted to be aggressive and, luckily, it worked,” McVay said. “But in no way is it a reflection of not respecting and appreciating all the great things that Jared Goff has done.”
In 12 seasons with the Lions, Stafford made three playoff appearances but did not record a postseason victory. He set franchise records with 3,898 completions, 45,109 passing yards, 282 passing touchdowns and 74 wins. With the Rams, Stafford joins an offense that returns to wide receivers Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp, tight end Tyler Higbee and running back Cam Akers. The Rams also return at least four of five starting offensive linemen.
General manager Les Snead confirmed Friday that the team remains in the market for a deep threat explosive receiver. “The hard part of the equation is finding those players who can really threaten the NFL defenders,” Snead said.
Uncertainty remains about when Stafford will be able to meet new teammates and practice. Due to current coronavirus restrictions, you may have to become familiar with McVay, his teammates, and a new offensive system during an offseason virtual show.
“I figured I would be limited in some capacity, if not all the way,” Stafford said. “So it will be an interesting opportunity and a challenge for me to get to know these guys the best I can and make sure they get to know me so we can go out there and play as a team and win some games.”
McVay, entering his fifth season as a coach, expressed his enthusiasm for collaborating and getting on the field with his new quarterback, who he anticipates will generate new looks for the offense.
“He’s got great wide-field vision, he sees the field, he can speed it up if he’s in trouble,” McVay said. “You’re watching a guy who if you watch the movie, the game makes sense to him, and I really respect the lens he sees it through … we’re excited every time the opportunity presents itself to get to work.”
There are two seasons left on Stafford’s contract, but the 33-year-old said Friday he was not worried about signing an extension.
“My job, first and foremost, is to play at a high level and help this team win soccer games, so that’s what I’m focused on right now,” he said. “I’m going to play and let all those things take care of themselves.”
Stafford said the decision he made with the Lions to leave the organization was a difficult one, but added that the two sides talked about trying to get him to a place where the team would be ready for success in no time.
“Obviously the Rams are such a team,” Stafford said. “They have been very successful as a team, that’s something that attracted me to them.”
The Rams finished 10-6 last season and lost in a divisional playoff. They have made three playoff appearances in four seasons under McVay.
Along with various offensive starters, the Rams return in 2021 to three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald and All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey.
Stafford has already visited the Rams’ temporary training facility in Thousand Oaks, as well as SoFi Stadium, which is expected to open to fans this season.
After spending 12 years with the Lions, Stafford said it “definitely felt different” seeing his new home, but added, “It’s exciting at the same time. It’s a place I hope to get home to very quickly and hopefully, for a long time. . “