Sports

Matt, who we’ve been waiting for

MATT STAFFORD tours SoFi Stadium with his eyes on the prize (and his smart phone. (Rams photo/Brevin Townsell).

Few athletes have come to the Los Angeles football scene with as much anticipation as Matthew Stafford. After a disappointing season by the Rams’ former quarterback Jared Goff, the team dispatched two-time Pro Bowl-er Jared Goff to Michigan with a “here’s your hat, what’s your hurry” kind of send-off.

Stafford, here from the Detroit Lions, is touted as the savior (maybe “recharger” is the better term) of the Ram offense, which sputtered en route to a so-so season in 2020.

A young 33, Stafford could be just the guy to pull it off it. He’s already doing his job in the off-season, charming the news media, touring SoFi Stadium with stars in his eyes and making hearts beat fast considering his mobility as compared to the more glue-footed Goff.

Matt Bowen, an analyst for ESPN, cites Stafford’s many skills as a reason for optimism in his first season on the West Coast. He can “escape, extend, drop down and use his high-end arm talent to throw from unstable platforms.”

That’s another way of saying that Stafford can be both a patient pocket passer and one who darts around, staying upright until one or more of his receivers gets open. Goff tended to hold on to the ball a bit more than was prudent, and really would rather use his arm than his legs.

But those traits are secondary to having people to throw to. The Rams have signed wide receiver DeSean Jackson to a one-year deal. Jackson missed most of 2020 in Philadelphia with an ankle injury.

However, he is a three-time Pro Bowl selection in his 13-year career and a local lad as well, having played prep football at Long Beach Poly.

Jackson will give Rams Coach Sean McVay another strong deep threat alongside Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods.

If running back Cam Akers can build on a strong rookie season and the team defense remains elite, 2021 could be a season to remember after a season to forget.

“Sports Monday” is written by Pete Zarustica. He is an excellent scrambler … to the fridge during the TV timeouts.

 

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