Stafford says toe OK; do not feel playoff pressure

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Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford says his toe is okay and should not affect him in Monday night’s wild-card playoff game against the visiting Arizona Cardinals.

And no, you can not see it.

Stafford took a friendly burial on Aaron Rodgers during his weekly media session on Thursday, a moment of frivolity amid heavier questions about the quarterback trying to win a playoff game for the first time in his 13-year NFL career.

Stafford said his toe landed on awkwardly late last Sunday when the NFC West champion Rams lost 27-24 to the San Francisco 49ers.

“But it’s going ok,” he said. “I want to be out there. I want to be good at walking.”

The Rodgers joke came when Stafford was asked if his toe would affect how he steps into the throw. The Green Bay Packers quarterback presented his bare foot to reporters during a Zoom session in November as proof that he did not have a “COVID toe,” but instead a fracture.

“No, I do not think so,” said Stafford. “I think I should have a really good time on Monday. I would show you that, but I do not want to do it. It’s up to other guys to do. I want to keep my toes to myself in this. But it is “I’m doing well. I should be okay.”

The Rams listed Stafford as a full participant on Thursday, though it was an estimate as they held a review.

Stafford was asked how much he feels he needs to prove himself as he has yet to win a playoff match. He lost in all three of his appearances while with the Detroit Lions.

“Every time I step on the field, I prove myself, whether it’s a match in advance or a regular season match, training, a playoff match,” he said. “I want to go out there and play well. This is just another opportunity to do that.”

Stafford said the pressure is no different in Los Angeles compared to Detroit. However, expectations may be higher, given how much the Rams have filled up on their roster in an attempt to win the Super Bowl LVI at home.

It included last offseason substitution for Stafford, who delivered a typically productive regular season with 4,886 yards (third in the NFL) and career-high 41 touchdown passes (seconds) over 17 games. His 17 interceptions, however, were a draw for most in the league with rookie Trevor Lawrence. He threw seven interceptions over the last three games and lost a fumble in that piece.

“I love competitiveness, the way we win that division, win 12 games with him, the standards he has for himself,” coach Sean McVay said. “One of the best things I love most about this guy is the first thing he wants to do is take extreme ownership and responsibility for the things he can do better. I think there is a business danger with some of turnover as a competitor.They certainly do not all fall on him.

“I look forward to playing very clean ball in the off – season, trusting his teammates, playing the way he is capable, and if he just plays on his own, I trust that really good things will happen for this team. “

McVay said he does not think the 33-year-old Stafford needs to prove he can win a playoff game.

“I think he has an established resume,” McVay said. “I think it’s something you want to be able to do. He was instrumental in leading us to our first division title, which we’ve had since ’18, and that’s a big deal, but now it’s the next “But I think his body work speaks for itself, and I do not think one can just limit it to: ‘Oh, he has not won a playoff game’.”

Stafford’s playoff losses came after the 2011 (in New Orleans), 2014 (in Dallas) and 2016 (in Seattle) seasons. McVay noted that the Cowboys game could have gone differently if not for a controversial call. Detroit was ahead by three points midway through the fourth quarter as officials marked Dallas for pass interference on the third down only to reverse the call, leading to a Detroit point and a possible broken lead.

“It was a bad call that I’ll probably get a fine for mentioning at all,” McVay said. “Seriously, here’s what’s crazy about this game – the story is that, but more than likely, if that call is not made, he’s probably won a playoff match, and it’s like, he played really different as a result of it?

McVay said cornerback Darious Williams will be good to go Monday night despite his shoulder injury. The team noted its starter opposite Jalen Ramsey as a full participant on Thursday. Security Taylor Rapp is making good progress, according to McVay, but remains on the sidelines while in the concussion protocol.

Rapp’s concussion and other safety Jordan Fuller’s ankle injury that ended the season prompted the Rams to bring 37-year-old Eric Weddle out of his two-year retirement this week and report him to their training team. McVay said his exact role remains to be determined, but Weddle left no doubt he expects to play on Monday, saying he would not be here otherwise.

“When you play for as long as I did, football becomes who you are,” he said. “So even though I have not played football, I still train as if I play football, even though it has never been a distant possibility in the last year and a half, because I was quite set on my decision and very happy. no way I have itching or anything like that, it was just an opportunity for life, honestly. “

Weddle has remained close to McVay and is a longtime friend of Raheem Morris, who is in his first season as the Rams’ defensive coordinator. When Weddle saw a text message from Morris earlier this week, he thought DC had contacted him for information about the Cardinals.

“Then the conversation started to happen and he says, ‘You’re not fat and out of shape, are you already?'” Weddle said. “As soon as he said that, I knew what was going to happen.”

Weddle, a six-time Pro Bowl selection, played the final of the Rams’ 2019 regular season finale. Monday will mark 750 days since then. He has acknowledged that his timing and tackling could be rusty, but said he feels “amazing” physically.

“Obviously, training for an NFL season is unlike anything else,” he said. “You can’t get that outside alone. And I’m not saying I’m at that level, but I’ve done things both training and playing five-on-five once or twice a week. I love basketball and that change of direction, hop. , start and stop. I came out yesterday and ran and lifted and it was like I had been here all season. I would not say I’m at that level. It discredits any NFL player it’s spent time on. and the forces. But if I did not feel I could go out there and be what I was expected to be, I would not be sitting here right now. “

Running back Cam Akers was not listed on the Rams’ training report, indicating that he was a full participant. Akers played 13 snaps last week in his first game after the Achilles tear he sustained over the summer. I have won 13 yards on eight touches against the 49ers.

“I feel like I’m 100 percent, but saying that probably does not make you believe it,” he said. “I just want to play ball, just go and show people that you’re 100 percent. Do not show myself because I already know. Just go out there and do plays.”

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