Categories: NFL

Sean McVay’s stance on Matthew Stafford raises questions for the Los Angeles Rams

Is Matthew Stafford the primary reason for the Los Angeles Rams’ average start to the 2022 season? No. Is he one of the top reasons they are 2-2 heading into a difficult Week 5 matchup against the Dallas Cowboys? Yes.

Stafford and his Rams are coming off a disastrous 24-9 loss to the division-rival San Francisco 49ers in a game that saw Stafford sacked seven times while turning it over twice. Despite this, Rams head coach Sean McVay has his quarterback’s back.

“If you look at some of the different things that he was dealing with, I thought he played excellent. I thought he did a lot of good things. I think the margin for error was that much smaller. I thought that was a performance that he could build on.”

Sean McVay on Matthew Stafford’s Week 4 performance, via Gary Klein of the Los Angeles Times

There’s a lot that goes into evaluating quarterback play. How the offensive line performs in front of him is one of the main factors. However, the quarterback himself should also be held to a higher standard. When it comes to a Super Bowl-winning veteran signal caller, the idea of a head coach treating him like a young quarterback in evaluation doesn’t make a ton of sense.

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Yes, Matthew Stafford is struggling

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

There’s no other way to go about evaluating what we’ve seen from the former Detroit Lions No. 1 pick through four games. He’s leading the 29th-ranked scoring offense in the NFL after Los Angeles finished seventh in that category a season ago. In fact, the Rams are averaging 10 fewer points per game in 2022.

From an individual perspective, things have been ugly for the record-breaking quarterback. He’s on pace for what would be his worst performance since his rookie campaign all the way back in 2009.

Dating back to Week 15 of the 2021 campaign, Stafford has thrown 12 touchdowns against 14 interceptions with 16 total turnovers in his past eight regular-season starts. Sure he helped Los Angeles to the Super Bowl title last season. But that came amid the signal caller throwing three interceptions in his final two postseason outings, including two in the Super Bowl.

There’s certainly something to be said about offensive line play in front of the immobile quarterback. Longtime left tackle Andrew Whitworth retired following the Super Bowl. Los Angeles is dealing with injuries to starting left guard David Edwards and center Brian Allen. A lack of a rushing attak plays a role here, too.

With that said, a quarterback deserves praise when his team is performing well and should be among those most blamed for struggles. It’s just the nature of the beast in this quarterback-driven league. Stafford certainly gets it.

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“You know, there were some plays that we can execute better, whether it’s throwing and catching or, just assignment-wise, so a lot to clean up. Proud of the way we fought. Give them a lot of credit, it’s a good football team but like you said, one-possession game. We make a critical error there, and they capitalize on it, and that was that.”

Matthew Stafford on his Week 4 performance

Of course, the veteran quarterback is talking about the ugly pick-six he threw into the hands of 49ers safety Talanoa Hufanga with Los Angeles down just 17-9 in the fourth quarter. That pretty much sealed Los Angeles’ seventh consecutive regular season loss to San Francisco.

For Stafford, it will be all about limiting these mistakes against a pretty darn good Cowboys defense that’s helped that team run off three consecutive wins heading into Sunday afternoon’s affair at SoFi Stadium.

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