Rams QB Matthew Stafford – Media Availability – October 31, 2021
What were your overall thoughts on this game?
“Yeah, it was good. You know, obviously good to get a win. I thought our guys played really well up front, both in the run game and the pass game. Kept me clean. There were some big holes in there. Our backs ran it really physical and hard. Did some nice things in the pass game. Just a little inefficient early in some spots. Had a great first drive and then just stalled out one too many times down there in the red zone. Proud of way our guys battled. I thought coming out of the second half wanted to score there, didn’t, but were able to get our feet under us and go play some good football. Always stuff to clean up, but plenty of good stuff out there as well.”
What did you think of Joe Noteboom today?
“Yeah, I mean, he’s got a guy to watch and learn from in (Andrew Whitworth) every single day. That’s as good as it gets, knowledgeable as it gets. Joe is just a quiet dude. Doesn’t say much. But every time he gets his opportunity, I’ve seen tape of him from past years and when he’s had opportunities he gets in there, he just plays. He played great today. All those guys in there, including myself, everybody trusts everybody to go out there and plays, play to their strengths and abilities, and Joe did that, so I’m happy for him.”
How does it feel for you to be playing on a team that’s 7-1 at this point in the season? If I’m not mistaken first time in your pro career.
“Yeah, I believe so. You know, I feel lucky to be where I am, surrounded by the people that I’m surrounded by, you know, both in the coaching staff and as players. It’s a great group of guys. Everybody comes to work, puts their head down, grinds, has fun while we’re doing it, and enjoys being around each other and going out there on Sundays and doing a good enough job to get some wins. Happy to be where I am. Trying to enjoy it and embrace it and be as good as I can be for those guys and lead the way.”
Where do you feel you guys are as a team?
“I think I know I say it a bunch, but every week you got to go out there and prove it. Doesn’t matter what we did last week; next Sunday, what we did today doesn’t matter. Got to go out there and play each individual game as its own. Are there are things we can build off and bring confidence with? Absolutely. Things we did well, for sure. Are there things we need to clean up? Yes. Just proud of the resiliency of this team. Got a bunch of tough-minded guys that are battling through some stuff, playing through it, and going out there and making plays. So big challenge ahead of us next week. Be nice to be back at home and playing in front of our home fans.”
This is the first time we’ve spoken to you since DeSean Jackson requested a trade. What was the reaction to that?
“You know, it was in the middle of the week, so the biggest thing for me is just trying to get prepared for this game. I have a lot of respect for what DeSean has been able to do in the NFL. He’s one of the all-time great deep threats. I was lucky enough to play with him, hit him on a long one, and got to see what that was all about. Man, it’s really special what he’s able to do on the field. You know, this is a business. I been around this thing for a long time. Nothing really surprises me at this point. But I got a lot of respect for him. I know that our front office and coaching staff are always trying to do what they feel is best for our team and what’s best for DeSean. So, it’s never easy, you know what I mean? But at the same time, we just move forward and continue to play ball.
Entirely unrelated, but trick or treating plans? Trying to make it back to Los Angeles in time?
“I don’t know. It’s probably going to be a little late for my little ones, they’re four, so that’s bedtime I think by the time we get back. I’m sure I’ll get some pictures.”
You say you had a lot to clean up. Do you feel like you left some points on the field?
“For sure. Obviously got stopped there on the fourth down on one of the drives. I love that coach (Sean McVay) had the confidence in us to go out there and call the play and give us the opportunity twice really to go out there and try and score. You know, just on me to really execute better in some of those instances. I can do a better job of giving some guys some chances, and I just got total trust in those guys to bring it down. I just got to be a little bit better, and if I can be a little bit better, I know the sky is the limit for this offense.”
A lot of elite coaches always say, “enjoy the journey.” When you’re 7-1, is that a delicate balance when there is still more than half the season to go? How do you balance that?
“I think you just embrace every day. Don’t look ahead, don’t look behind, you don’t say look what we have done or what we have to do. I just enjoy coming to work. I’m surrounded guy so many great teammates, guys that I enjoy being around. And so many coaches that are the same. I love being around those guys, love coming to work, putting the hours in, and trying get a game plan together and go out and execute with these guys on Sunday. It’s not hard for me to enjoy. This game is difficult. There is a lot of work that goes into it. It’s a physical, a mental grind, but at the same time, surrounded by a bunch of guys that I love going to battle with, and that makes it worth it and fun for me.”
Describe what it was like watching the fourth quarter.
“I just want our guys to succeed, whoever is in there. You know, some things to clean up there for sure. Just happy some of those guys got their opportunities. I know they’re look at the tape and say, ‘Where can I be better?’ But I feel like we did enough work early in the game to be out at that point. But it’s never easy to stand on the sideline whether it’s defense out there or somebody else running the offense. You always want to be playing, at the same time I understand it completely and try to be smart.”
You had pretty clean pocket today, but can you talk about how great the run game was?
“Yeah, it was great. I think they go hand in hand, right? Great offensive lineman sitting there pounding guys in the run game and our backs are making them pay with explosive and efficient runs, sure does make the job of pass blocking a little bit easier. There was a little bit of a streak there where we threw it a bunch of times and those guys kept me clean, man. That’s a quarterback’s dream. I appreciate those guys. I can be more efficient when I do have a clean pocket and get some better balls out to some guys. Goes hand and hand for those guys. We were able to lean on them a little bit in the run game, and then when it was time to pass those guys kept me clean, which was great.”
Head Coach Sean McVay began the season as he had in the past, conservative on fourth down. Are you somebody who studying that portion of analytics or are you just enthusiastic about it?
“No, I’m just enthusiastic about it. I let the number crunchers figure that stuff out. I’m more just feel of the game. And as a player when your coach says, ‘Hey, go for it on fourth down’, that’s awesome. You want to go out there and prove them right. You want to leave us on the field? You’re damn right you should, because this is what’s going to happen. We did it once; didn’t another time today. But hopefully, we continue to do well and earn those opportunities because analytics say there are some opportunities there to score some more points. I appreciate the confidence that he has in us as players to go out there and continue to earn that confidence every time he says it.”
Do you look at the trade deadline with any special anticipations?
“I got no clue. I’ve been a part of it both ways, buyers and sellers. So, NFL trade deadline is a little bit different than other sports. There is a whole scheme you have to go in there and learn. Not just play the game. Can’t just plug a guy in to play short stop, see fast ball, hit a fast ball. A little bit more to it. We’ll see. I know we got a great group of guys in that locker room right now. If we end up getting somebody, whoever comes in is going to be pleasantly surprised by a bunch of guys that really work hard and are about playing football the right way. If we ride with who we got, I love it. Whatever happens, happens. We’ll figure it out.”