LA Rams Quarterback 2022: Inside Of Matthew Stafford’s Down Year

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The Los Angeles Rams have a lot of question marks going into the 2023 season, and one of them is at the quarterback position. Here, we will break down the LA Rams quarterback 2022 play.

It’s not a question of who will be starting as that honor will go to Matthew Stafford, of course, but after how the 2022 season went, there are a few questions surrounding the 35-year-old’s health.

Stafford dealt with an elbow issue last offseason and although he would never use it as an excuse, it likely was part of the reason why he had a down year in 2022. Throughout the season, Stafford also missed time with a pair of concussions and a spinal cord contusion.

For a quarterback with his age and mileage, those are significant injuries that must be taken seriously. All indications are that Stafford is healthy going into the offseason though, so let’s examine what Stafford’s 2023 season may look like.

First impression was awesome

When the Rams acquired Stafford from the Detroit Lions for Jared Goff and a pair of first-round picks, they were hoping he would be the missing piece to take them over the top and finally capture that elusive Super Bowl Championship.

And within one year of the acquisition, they were proven exactly right.

In Stafford’s first year with the team, he was the main cog in one of the league’s top offenses. Despite leading the league in interceptions with 17, Stafford was also top five in both passing yards (4,886) and touchdowns (41). He also had the best fourth-quarter passer rating in the league, leading L.A. to numerous late-game comebacks.

That includes the playoffs where Stafford led the Rams on game-winning drives in the final three rounds en route to winning the Super Bowl.

Sequel nowhere near as good as original

Stafford’s second season in L.A., however, was nowhere near as good.

I already mentioned the injuries that limited him to just nine games, but even when he did play, Stafford was nowhere near as successful.

In 2022, Stafford threw for 2,087 yards with 10 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He saw his yards per game drop from 287.4 the previous season to 231.9 and his touchdown to interception ratio from 2.41 to 1.25.

In addition to Stafford’s own injuries, a big reason for this regression was the injuries around him. It’s no secret that the Rams suffered a historic number of injuries on the offensive line, trotting out a different group up front just about every game. And for a non-mobile quarterback like Stafford, giving him time to throw and get the ball downfield is essential.

So when assessing what type of season Stafford will have in 2023, factoring in health, both his own and his teammates, is the most important thing.

I can’t imagine the Rams’ offensive line being as good as 2021 when they largely stayed completely healthy, but I also can’t imagine the number of injuries in 2023 matching 2022. So if that group is better, then Stafford should be better as well.

Another big factor is the coaches and personnel around him. The Rams had a huge downgrade in offensive coordinator last season, going from Kevin O’Connell to Liam Coen, who only lasted one season. The Rams have another experienced offensive coordinator now in Mike LaFleur, who will be working closely with Stafford, which should help the offense as a whole.

Rams offensive tweaks

Additionally, various reports have indicated that Sean McVay and the Rams are looking to get back to being an offensive-centric team.

The organization has devoted a ton of resources to defense in recent years to get that side of the ball caught up with the offense, so much so that they even surpassed the offense as L.A.’s best unit.

The Rams have parted with a number of their best defensive players to get their salary cap in order though, and a lot of their future resources in the draft and free agency are expected to be devoted to the offensive side of the ball.

Stafford still has some quality wideouts to work with, especially Cooper Kupp, but adding even more weapons (perhaps an Odell Beckham Jr?) will only help out the quarterback.

So with all that being said, it is really hard to predict what type of season Stafford will have in 2023. Will he stay healthy? Will his offensive line and receivers?

If the answer is yes to both of those questions, then I would anticipate a bounce-back season closer to his 2021 than his 2022. I don’t know if he’ll throw for close to 5,000 yards and 40+ touchdowns again, and I still expect the interception number to be high. But where I would have Stafford is around 4,100 yards, 30 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.

Knowing Stafford’s work ethic and competitive spirit, he will come out in 2023 looking to prove the doubters wrong, showing that he still has some quality years left even if he is on the back nine of his career.