Rams fans hope Matthew Stafford doesn’t become Jared Goff

The interview room at the Rams’ practice facility is smaller than it used to be, but everything else feels very familiar, right down to the words that come out of the quarterback’s mouth.

Matthew Stafford sounds like Jared Goff.

That’s not a bad thing, as Goff was a model of responsibility to the Rams, taking the blame for every fumble he made and every game his team lost.

The problem for the Rams is that Stafford is now throwing the ball as the quarterback he was traded for.

Stafford had a pass intercepted and returned for a touchdown in each of his last three games, something the turnover-prone Goff never did in his five seasons with the Rams. Coincidentally or not, the Rams are on a three-game losing streak. Stafford, who has committed six turnovers in that span, has gone from being a MVP candidate to, well, being compared to Goff.

However, Stafford, who reiterated Wednesday that he is not injured, will have to do more than that. He should play better, starting Sunday against the twice-winning Jacksonville Jaguars at SoFi Stadium.

Stafford’s slow start to each of the last three games has created early deficits for the Rams, presenting major obstacles for a team that cannot defend.

“We’ve played from behind a bit, that’s for sure, which is not fun in the NFL,” Stafford said. “Obviously, it’s a lot easier when you get a big lead and let our defense, which has great passers, really chase after him. quarterback of the other team. Being able to start faster is definitely our goal ”.

In the loss at Green Bay last week, Stafford lost a fumble on the Rams’ second possession, resulting in the first touchdown of the Packers. With a familiar pattern taking shape, a desperate McVay chose in the following drive try it on the fourth and one from the Rams’ 29-yard line. Darrell Henderson was arrested before the first down, the Packers kicked a field goal and the Rams were suddenly down by 10 points.

Coach Sean McVay has fiercely protected his new quarterback. On Wednesday he said: “Not all of those interceptions are solely his fault.”

In Stafford’s defense, the team around him has suffered heavy losses. With Robert Woods out for the season, opponents have doubled Cooper Kupp more often. With Johnny Mundt also out of season, the Rams only have one tight end legit on Tyler Higbee.

A weak inside line, coupled with the injury suffered by running back Cam Akers in the preseason, has virtually eliminated his running game.

These explanations should not count as excuses. The Rams are paying Stafford $ 20 million to make it a quarterback of excellence. They traded two first-round picks alongside Goff for Stafford thinking he could guide them through games like this. Stafford has to give up, period.

The real question is whether the former gunman to a relentless underdog in Detroit can morph into a more responsible custodian of the ball that a Super Bowl contender requires.

“From a decision-making standpoint, I still want to aggressively take what the defense is giving me,” Stafford said. “If they are giving me opportunities to go up, I want to take advantage of those opportunities.”

Stafford pointed to his pass from touchdown of 79 yards to Van Jefferson at Green Bay, who came on a play of third-eight.

“I have been playing this sport for a long time, I have been pitching around the field for many years, so I want to continue doing it. But when defenses do a good job of playing deep and force you to take things underneath, I want to make sure I do that right. “

McVay has a lot at stake in finding the right balance. The Rams too.

Trading Goff was an implicit endorsement of McVay by the Rams. The indirect message was that McVay’s offense could flourish again with an improvement in the quarterback. The first eight parties supported that theory. The last three offered proof to the contrary. How Stafford and the offense end the season will have a significant effect on McVay’s reputation.

Stafford’s performance will also determine the viability of the Rams’ greatest ambition, which is to play in a Super Bowl at their stadium. They are counting on Stafford to do what they thought Goff couldn’t do.

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Rams fans hope Matthew Stafford doesn’t become Jared Goff