Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford threw for more than 5,000 passing yards once in his career. That was 10 years ago with the Detroit Lions, when he was one of three signal-callers to top the 5K mark through the air.
Now, in 2021 and with a 17-game schedule this time around, the league could witness history’s first 6,000-yard passer as ESPN’s Mike Clay wrote in his Monday morning insider feature.
Clay mentioned six QB’s whose arm and offensive weaponry surrounding the signal-caller can make them a threat to not only shatter the 5,477 yards Peyton Manning threw in 2013, but top the 6K mark. Is one of them the newest QB for the Rams? Here’s what Clay says:
Stafford Mentioned Among Six Names
Yes Ram fans, the 33-year-old Stafford made the list of who is a potential 6,000-yard threat in 2021.
Before diving into why, here was the six points Clay mentions that helps determine which quarterbacks can be a record-breaker in yardage this fall:
- A high-volume air scheme.
- Pass-heavy play calling (67% pass rate or higher).
- Facing a weak defense (one that allows 2-3 touchdowns per game) most of the year.
- Strong efficiency (67% completion percentage or higher).
- Less scrambles
- Finally, can stay healthy for all 17 games.
In looking at this upcoming season, plus in examining Stafford’s past and what he’s walking into inside the “Rams House,” he’s a perfect candidate for possibly topping past 5,999 yards.
Even at age 32, Stafford’s arm still proved it can rack up 4,000 yards (4,084 in his final year in the Motor City). Miraculously, he posted that yardage mark with no 1,000-yard wideout, as the closest WR to the century mark was Marvin Jones with 978 yards. But take a good glance at what he has now in his disposal in L.A.:
- Two 90-catch targets in Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods.
- A 34-year-old DeSean Jackson who already has 10,656 career receiving yards.
- Tight end Tyler Higbee who caught 69 passes in 2019.
- And lastly, two intriguing rookies in Tutu Atwell and Jacob Harris, who combined for six receptions for 64 yards and busted two 20-yard gains in their preseason debut on Saturday versus the Chargers.
Another reason? Of the 17 games on the Rams’ 2021 schedule, only the Baltimore Ravens surrendered fewer than 19 points a game last year (18.9 behind the Rams). That game isn’t until January 2.
One more reason: The system Stafford is now in.
Sean McVay’s Offense Built to Break Records
In seven of McVay’s years of running the offense, his units ranked between 12th and first in scoring offense during five of those years between 2014 to 2020.
In 2018 and ’19, McVay turned Jared Goff into a back-to-back 4,600-yard passer. In fact, Goff never threw under 3,800 yards with McVay.
But another key Clay points out? How fast McVay’s offense moves:
“McVay’s offense moves at a rapid pace, ranking eighth in pace of play (37.8) and third in offensive snaps (1,087) last season. His offense ranked third in pace (36.9) and eighth in snaps (1,049) in 2019, so there seems to be a trend. McVay called a balanced offense last season, though he did lean slightly toward the pass (not quite “pass heavy”) during the four prior seasons.
Stafford has a history of good efficiency, completing at least 64% of his passes each of the past six seasons and peaking with an 8.6 YPA (yards per attempt) in 2019 (7.2 career YPA). Stafford has never cleared 26 scrambles in a single season and hasn’t recorded 29 carries in a season since 2016, so we don’t have to worry about lost volume there.”
Stafford is mentioned as somebody capable of history. Meanwhile, the other names with the best chance of making history in order are: Dak Prescott, Patrick Mahomes Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Justin Herbert.