With the media and fans alike watching Matthew Stafford closely to make assessments about his throwing arm, the Rams quarterback had one message for them: just watch him throw.
"I don't know if you guys were watching, I felt like I could make any throw I wanted to today," Stafford said. "I'm just trying to be smart when I get those opportunities to make sure I can come out here, cut it loose, turn it loose like I did today and go from there."
Throughout the offseason Stafford has been dealing with a lingering elbow injury which required an anti-inflammatory shot and stopped him from throwing in the spring. And now with the season just weeks away, questions are still swirling over how Stafford will be able to manage the pain and just how much it could affect him throughout the season.
But head coach Sean McVay, who earlier this week said the Rams were giving Stafford a lighter workload in light of the issues, still said the team is not worried at all about Stafford's ability to play at his best come Week 1, and he reiterated Stafford's claims that anyone who watched him throw Saturday could tell he was doing fine.
"He threw it all over the yard today, looked really good, felt good. We're very much on track with what we had hoped and I think you could really see," McVay said. "The ball was jumping out of his hand, making all types of throws, and so I think he was trying to show you guys that there's probably not many questions you can ask him either based on how he felt in the way he was throwing it around today."
While Stafford and McVay both downplayed the injury when talking on Saturday, with the quarterback saying it was just "a little soreness," the issue could actually be more severe, with NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reporting that Stafford is dealing with bad tendinitis, also known as "thrower's elbow." Rapoport said that while Los Angeles doesn't appear to be worried about the long-term effects, when it comes to a franchise quarterback any issue with a throwing arm is taken seriously, which is why the Rams have been so careful to limit the number of reps Stafford takes.
As the preseason ramps up in anticipation of the start of the season, and with it the possible strain on an injured elbow, we'll have to see how Stafford holds up and whether his reassuring words prove true. But in the meantime, after watching Saturday's practice McVay said he at the least is not worried at all about his QB.
"I do know this, the way that he looked today, I don't think you would know that anything was going on," McVay said. "He felt good. So, I know that I'm going to sleep better tonight."
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