Stafford, Rams getting back to work after Super Bowl win | Soccer

By GREG BEACHAM – AP Sportswriter

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) — Matthew Stafford received an offseason injection in his elbow to quell an unspecified minor injury that plagued him throughout the Los Angeles Rams’ run to the Super Bowl.

He didn’t throw any serious passes during organized team activities on Monday and he may not do so again until training camp.

Stafford still believes he can get plenty of work done during the Rams’ early preparations to hunt for a second ring.

“The biggest thing for me at this point is to continue to master that offense — to the best of my ability — and to continue to teach it the way Coach teaches it,” Stafford said. “That’s my job, being a coach on the pitch.”

Most observers thought Stafford already got a pretty good handle on Sean McVay’s offense, having passed for 4,886 yards last season before leading Los Angeles to four straight playoff wins in an impressive first year on the West Coast.

But Stafford believes he can improve, and he also recognizes he needs time to bond with new receiver Allen Robinson.

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With the regular season opener against Buffalo still 3 1/2 months away, Stafford has plenty of time to heal his elbow and improve his game.

“It’s all the details, in every little aspect of it,” Stafford said. “The more ownership I can have, the better we’ll be.”

The Rams’ success has resulted in dramatically increased fame and fortune for their biggest names, resulting in everything from national television commercials for McVay and Stafford to greater notoriety for Super Bowl MVP Cooper Kupp, who couldn’t even go out to see the kids to watch his friend’s youth football game recently without being besieged by fans.

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But McVay set the parameters of his perspective on the Rams’ new season immediately after a relaxed first practice session with volunteer OTAs at the team’s training complex.

“This is a brand new year,” he said. “We’re not defending anything. We’re trying to be the best version of the 2022 Rams that we can possibly be. What that looks like is an exciting thing that evolves and constantly adapts throughout the season.”

Several veterans missed practice Monday, including All-Pros Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey. Receiver Van Jefferson and new cornerback Troy Hill didn’t appear to be training despite participating in other stretches of the offseason program, while running back Darrell Henderson sat out with a “soft-tissue injury” that worsened again last week. according to McVay.

The Rams are not urging any of their players to return for OTAs, especially given the team’s short offseason. The mandatory Los Angeles mini-camp takes place in just two weeks before the summer break before training camp.

McVay had nothing new to report about a contract extension for Donald, who turned 31 on Monday. The three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year capped his ninth season with the last defensive game to stop both San Francisco’s Jimmy Garoppolo in the NFC Championship game and Cincinnati’s Joe Burrow in the Super Bowl.

Donald doesn’t typically attend any off-season training that isn’t required, so his absence came as no surprise. Donald’s reps and the Rams have discussed an extension, but the Rams have no public concerns that Donald would hold out as he did before his six-year, $135 million, $87 million guaranteed renewal. dollars received in 2018. Donald is headed into the fourth season of this deal.

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“The dialogue was good,” said McVay, who sent birthday wishes to Donald on Monday morning. “He did a great communication job. He now has the chance to spend time with his family, so we feel good about it.”

McVay has a bigger offseason event than OTAs this summer: he’s finally marrying Veronika Khomyn, his longtime fiancée. The couple this month donated $50,000 to the American Red Cross in support of Khomyn’s native Ukraine, and McVay reiterated the perspective he gained from Khomyn’s family’s wartime experiences.

“As a coach, you’re always so solution-oriented that at times (in more complex situations) you feel helpless,” McVay said. “These are the little things you can do to hopefully end this sooner rather than later.”

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