Rejuvenated Matthew Stafford could help Rams defy expectations this season

Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford feels rejuvenated after several injuries hindered him throughout multiple offseasons.

“Three years, I don’t know,” Stafford told Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer after the writer asked him when he last felt this good. “It’s really been a while. It’s the last four or five offseasons. I had a fractured thumb back in ’19. After ’20, I came here, I had thumb surgery. After ’21, I had elbow stuff going on. So it’s been quite a few offseasons since I’ve felt like I could get a full offseason under my belt and go play.”

In 2022, Stafford received an injection in his right elbow that sidelined him during OTAs and limited him throughout training camp. The QB missing a significant portion of the offseason hampered his regular-season performance. Stafford threw 10 TDs and eight interceptions, logged an 87.4 passer rating, and finished with a 3-6 starting record before suffering a season-ending neck injury against the New Orleans Saints in Week 11.

Consequently, the 35-year-old focused on regaining his health in 2023, even if it didn’t produce results immediately.

“Rest, rehab, a lot of work,” Stafford said of his regimen. “A lot of things I try either worked or didn’t work, helped a little, helped a lot. A lot of work from me, the training staff, a lot of people to try to get back to feeling good.”

Stafford fully recovering would be ideal for the Rams. When he’s healthy, the former Pro Bowler is an elite QB. He tied a career-high 41 passing TDs and led the Rams to a Super Bowl title during his first season with Los Angeles, after all.

However, experts believe the Rams won’t improve after they went 5-12 last season — the worst record for a defending champion in league history. The 2023 projection guide from ESPN’s Mike Clay projected them for 4.8 wins, the worst in the NFL.

However, a healthy Stafford could change that and help Los Angeles bounce back into the playoff hunt.   

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