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Matthew Stafford playing his way towards the starting role in 2024

Was there any reason to think Stafford wouldn’t be the starter next season?

Cleveland Browns v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Ric Tapia/Getty Images

Quarterback Matthew Stafford has been a big reason why the Los Angeles Rams have won three straight games. His performance during LA’s three-game winning streak has likely secured his place as the team’s starter in 2024.

Rams reporter Sarah Barshop of ESPN reported as much regarding Stafford’s future in Hollywood in a December 6 article on quarterback conundrums across the NFL.

“McVay and the front office are big fans of Stafford, and logistically, it wouldn’t make sense to move on from him. Stafford’s 2024 salary is guaranteed, and a trade before June 1 would leave Los Angeles with $55.5 million in dead money. The Rams did a lot of work during the offseason to keep the 2024 cap clean, too. And while the Rams have their 2024 first-round pick — at least for now — they’ve already won six games, which doesn’t put them in position to take one of the top quarterbacks in the draft. Expect Stafford to be back in L.A.” per Barshop in a December 6 article

C’mon, was Matthew Stafford ever in danger of losing his starting role to begin with? Was there any reason to think he wouldn’t be the starter next season?

For most of the season, it wasn’t looking good. In early November, I even debated Matt’s legacy in LA, saying he had tarnished his reputation with the Rams following Super Bowl LVI. What’s with me having spicy takes lately?

Prior to the bye week, the veteran signal caller had just eight touchdown passes to seven interceptions through eight games. After the bye, Sean McVay must’ve unlocked something special in Stafford as he’s been lights out since the fourth quarter of the Seattle game.

One key to Stafford’s sudden revival has been improved protection from the offensive line. You know, the thing he sure as hell didn’t have in ‘22. Stafford has been sacked 20 times through 11 games and has been sacked just once since Week 11. In the last two games against the Cardinals and Browns, Stafford has been hit only five times, per Greg Beacham of the Associated Press. Protection along the O-line allowed LA’s QB1 to torch Cleveland’s vicious defense.

Only Gardner Minshew of the Colts has thrown for more yards against Cleveland this season. Whenever a player is mentioned in the same breath as Gardner FREAKING Minshew, you know they’re in darn elite company. Wear those jorts proud Stafford, you’ve earned it!

Yes, the Browns had a hobbled Myles Garrett and were without star corner Denzel Ward. Don’t let their injury bug infestation take away from the fact that Stafford is playing the best football he has in a long time. His seven touchdown passes in the past two games are his most in any stretch since 2021.

Injuries seemingly limited Staff in the early part of the campaign. Then, he suffered a sprained UCL in the thumb on his throwing hand which forced him to miss the Green Bay game. Resting during the week off did Stafford plenty of good. Suddenly his zip on the ball has been more noticeable, particularly on his perfect 70-yard scoring pass to Puka Nacua.

ESPN personality Pat McAfee has certainly taken notice of Stafford’s ability to throw a pretty ball as well.

Matthew Stafford is definitely heating up at the right time which bodes well for the Rams’ playoff chances. Maybe he’ll have a chance to improve upon his “tarnished” LA legacy I alluded to last month. Anything can happen for the team and Stafford in the last five games. I for one would be incredibly hyped if the Rams were able to sneak in and play against Stafford’s old team. What a wild homecoming that would be.