Stafford Not Playing in Preseason?

Jul 29, 2021; Irvine, CA, USA; Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) drops back to pass during training camp at University of California, Irvine. Mandatory Credit: John McCoy-USA TODAY Sports

Anyone who had hope of seeing Matthew Stafford take snaps during the LA Rams preseason will not have their dreams come true.

His new coach Sean McVay recently said that he would not take any chances regarding playing the former Detroit Lion during the early exhibition games before the regular season.

“There is zero chance you will ever see Matthew Stafford take a snap in the preseason for the Rams as long as I’m the coach. That will never happen,” he said to the Doug Gottlieb Show Friday per Rams Wire. “He is not going to play. That’s why it’s important for us to try to get competitive ‘opps’ against some of these other teams in practice settings. Practicing against the Cowboys this Saturday. Get the Raiders twice. So we’re always looking for those things. Until you tell me that if a guy gets hurt in the preseason that we’ll get those games back or they’ll add them on the schedule afterwards as, ‘Oh yeah, you get two games because you lost those guys in the preseason,’ it’s hard for me to make sense of it.”

However, this fact has been rather usual for the Rams since McVay took over as head coach in 2017. And in a difficult NFC West, not having any preseason snaps could lead to some rust for veteran players.

While this move is a gamble, it is nothing new. According to Tyler Sullivan of CBS Sports, “Holding veterans who have cemented a roster spot out of the preseason has been commonplace in Los Angeles under McVay, so it’s not entirely surprising to see him follow suit with Stafford. That said, given that the quarterback is in the midst of his first summer with the Rams following the trade from Detroit, there is a case to be made for him to see game action. Instead, McVay will opt for competitive practice reps —– which are a bit more controlled —– rather than expose Stafford to potential injury in a preseason game that ultimately has no consequence to their upcoming season.”

I get it that no one wants to sustain an injury, especially during the preseason games that don’t count. But for McVay, this could be seen as a case of possibly pushing the panic button too early. Injuries are a part of the game, and any time that they happen is unfortunate for a franchise.

Speaking of injuries, Stafford has already had an incident over the summer. “Los Angeles already had a scare surrounding a potential Stafford injury when the veteran banged his surgically repaired thumb in practice,” Sullivan said. “According to reports, Stafford avoided serious injury, but it’s likely another reason for McVay to keep his new quarterback in bubble wrap until Week 1.”

For recollection notices, the Rams may very well be the only team in the NFL that does not play any of their starters in any preseason games. And for’s take, it’s an interesting viewpoint. Per Kevin Patra, “Since becoming the Rams coach, McVay has punted on the preseason, using it to give bottom-of-the-roster players reps rather than prep his starters for the season.”

For Matthew Stafford, being in a new system has seen a shift in mentality. Depending on how long he’ll play under the California sun, he won’t see any playing time in August during the preseason.