IRVINE, Calif. (AP) — Matthew Stafford said he felt like a rookie at the end of his first training camp practice with the Los Angeles Rams. But the quarterback still made some throws Wednesday that show he is entering his 13th season in the league.
Even though Stafford is still getting up to speed with the offense, he hit DeSean Jackson on a deep ball up the left sideline during 11-on-11 drills that drew large applause from the crowd.
“I think it was good play design. It also helps to have a guy like DeSean who can still run like that,” Stafford said. “It's fun to be able to try to set guys up for success.”
Stafford — who was acquired in a blockbuster trade with the Detroit Lions on March 18 — and Jackson connected often, including once on a 20-yard pass to the near sideline as the pocket around Stafford was breaking down. Jackson, a Long Beach native, is also in his first season in Los Angeles after signing as a free agent during the offseason.
He also got the other receivers involved, including a nice completion to Cooper Kupp up the far sideline.
The next two weeks though for Stafford will continue to be a learning process as he continues to get on the same page with coach Sean McVay and the receivers.
“That just comes with experience and reps. I can sit in the classroom with Sean and all those guys and just talk about it. I’m just trying to soak it all in and trying to get as comfortable as I possibly can as quickly as I can,” Stafford said.
Even though Stafford has tried to preach patience, McVay thinks that Stafford is already ahead of the learning curve.
“He has very seamlessly acclimated himself very well up to this point and, and he’ll continue to do that just by being himself,” McVay said. “On the field it seems like he feels very comfortable out here. There’s a lot of little nuances but he definitely has great command.”
McVay and the rest of the Rams also seemed to be invigorated being back at UC Irvine after last year's camp was held at the team's complex in Thousand Oaks due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Rams are practicing at the Orange County campus until prior to the first preseason game against the Chargers on Aug. 14.
Offensive line coach Kevin Carberry was not on the field after testing positive for COVID-19. McVay said Carberry is fully vaccinated and is hopeful he can return soon. Carberry is running meetings virtually and needs two negative tests within a 24-hour period to return.
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