Matthew Stafford will not participate in team drills at this time

Rams training camp in Irvine, California.

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The issue of quarterback Matthew Stafford’s elbow discomfort continues to make things very uncomfortable at Rams training camp, even as coach Sean McVay tries to walk halfway through talking about the situation. .

On Wednesday, McVay explained at the start of a press conference that Stafford would not participate in team drills at this time.

“It’s part of the plan that we believe is in his best interest,” McVay said. “So this is a great opportunity for John Wolford and Bryce [Perkins] to be able to get a lot more reps than they would otherwise. Matthew is going to stay committed and that’s the plan we think is the best right now.”

McVay declined to call it a setback. But how could it be anything other than a setback if the defending Super Bowl champion’s starting quarterback didn’t participate in team drills in training camp?

“It’s consistent with what’s going on,” McVay said. “It’s just more, when you really look at the totality of it, that you want to try and get him to operate with as little pain as possible. I think every time you’ve played this long and you’re as tough as him , I don’t know if you’re really ever pain free but the target would be for September 8th and really looking at 17 games and then hopefully a few games after that if we deserve this opportunity. perspective and the holistic approach that we want to be able to take. I don’t know if I would feel as comfortable taking that approach if it weren’t for the experience he has accumulated and knowing how he’s intentional to stay on top of his mental and physical work that he can do in the absence of some of the things in the team settings.

How worried is McVay that this problem will persist in the regular season?

“You could [have that concern]”McVay said. “I think it’s one of those things we talk about where, ‘Hey, all we can do is what we can control.’ We think that’s kind of the best approach to take. Is it possible for this conversation to happen? Sure. But based on the medical experts and the discussion plan with Matthew, that’s what we think is best. I’m optimistic this will give us the best chance for him to feel as good as possible. Would you say, “Hey, you wish he had no issues and was here playing and getting all those reps.” Sure. But it’s the thing that we think is the best. It’s one of those deals where you kind of take your own advice where, ‘Hey, let’s just be here right now, let’s take it one day at a time,’ and I thought we got better as a team today and we’re getting some encouraging things. I think you want to be careful of saying, “Okay, well, it’s only been a few days,” but I think for us, being able to really give it a week, two weeks, that’s where you give enough time to really see… “Okay, is this new plan we’ve put in place delivering results, which we’re looking for.” I think everyone is feeling good about it and that’s the plan we’re going to follow for the next two weeks.

McVay said he “doesn’t think” there is a scenario that involves Stafford skipping all team activities until prep week begins for the season opener against the Bills.

“What we’ve really said right now is we’re really going to take it over these next two weeks, really until we get out of here because we have this four-day block and then three more days before you end up going back to [Cal Lutheran]”, McVay said. “So we’ve kind of taken the approach that we’ll reevaluate once we get there before that first pre-season game and then we’ll see where we are and I’ll have updates. for you accordingly.”

Obviously, Stafford would rather that weren’t the case.

“He wants to be out there and do everything,” McVay said, “but that’s where you have to say, ‘Okay, let’s really step back. What do we think is the best way to follow our own advice and be as healthy as possible and ready to go on September 8th? It was really what I thought was best as a competitor. He will always want to continue to be here, to be with his teammates. But he’s so intentional with his approach that you feel good about it. That’s kind of the situation we find ourselves in, so we’re going to deal with it as best we can.

At the end of the line ? Stafford’s elbow — which kept him from throwing at all this offseason — continues to be a problem. For now, they’re trying to figure out a way to get him ready to leave without making things worse. Whether this approach will set him up properly, and whether the limited workload will avoid making things worse, remains to be seen.

Either way, it’s definitely something to watch for the Rams. The road back to the Super Bowl becomes much harder if Stafford can’t pitch the way he wants or if he ultimately can’t play at all.

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