Analysts Concerned That Matthew Stafford Isn’t Throwing at OTAs

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images Matthew Stafford might not throw until training camp.

The Los Angeles Rams‘ offseason following their Super Bowl LVI has mostly been smooth-sailing, but a couple of analysts have some cause for concern.

Organized team activities (OTAs) began for the Rams on Monday, May 23. One star player (three-time Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald) wasn’t present while another star player (Matthew Stafford) isn’t taking part in his usual activities. The Rams played down the cause for concern on Donald and Stafford, but Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio and Chris Simms are a bit concerned that Stafford might not be throwing until training camp.

Florio and Simms Share Why They’re Concerned Over The Stafford News

Stafford confirmed on Monday that he received an anti-inflammatory shot in his throwing elbow after he dealt with an issue there last season. Following the shot, Stafford shared that he might not throw until training camp in July. Rams coach Sean McVay didn’t seem too concerned by the news, though.

“We’re taking it a day at a time right now, but the goal and the thought process was that he’ll start to ramp that up when we get closer to training camp,” McVay told reporters on Monday. “He’s able to communicate with us in how he’s feeling. But the plan all along has been, ‘Let’s really stress above-the-neck and things that we can control, but be smarter than anything else with him, especially with his experience and his ability to communicate with us.'”

However, Florio and Simms, a former NFL quarterback, shared why Rams fans should at least be slightly worried.

“You always get the flowery version from McVay and company…Yeah, the elbow is a very important part of the overall throwing mechanism, Christopher. I would be a little bit worried about Matthew Stafford and this elbow if he can’t throw at all during OTAs and he had to have a shot now, three months after the last game. I would be a little concerned if I was a Rams fan,” Florio said on his Peacock show “Pro Football Talk.” “I’m not saying there’s anything dire going on, but it’s not normal. It’s not normal. He’s not 100 percent and they’re worried about it.”

“There was something going on during the middle of the season last year. That was part of the – when we were all talking Matthew Stafford ‘being banged up’ and yes, he was dealing with a little foot and ankle issue, it might have been ribs or shoulder, the other issue he was definitely having was a little tendonitis in the throwing elbow. There was a little bit of an issue there,” Simms replied. “It sounds like – and I don’t know this – but it sounds like the season’s over, you take some time off, and started to throw footballs again and went ‘Damn, this thing is still kind of sore. It didn’t go away.’

“So, then you get the shot in the elbow and that’s never a great thing. It’s not. An anti-inflammatory in your elbow is not – there’s a lot of science that says it’s not great for your ligaments or anything. But obviously, they felt like they had to do it and now he’s going to rest it up. I’m with you, I’m a little bit like ‘Damn, he’s still dealing with this?’ That makes me think there’s a little more to it. We’ll see where it goes. It’s going to be all rosy and everything right now. There’s going to be a little bit of concern, though. I would be.”

Florio and Simms Aren’t The Only Ones Concerned About Stafford

The concern for Stafford’s right elbow doesn’t end at Florio and Simms. CBS Sports’ Ross Tucker, who played seven seasons in the NFL, was also alarmed by Stafford receiving injections.

“That’s not good,” Tucker said on his podcast. “That doesn’t mean he won’t play, and he might come out and play great, but that’s not good. Those guys don’t get injections in their elbows for the hell of it. Like, he talked to multiple doctors – it’s causing him a problem and he finally decided ‘OK, let’s see if it helps if I [get an injection].’ I know this process. The fact that Stafford had an injection in his elbow is not good.”

Stafford’s dealt with a few injuries that have caused him to miss time over his 13-year NFL career, but only one of them was on his throwing arm. He missed 13 games in 2010 after having surgery on his right shoulder to repair the AC joint. Stafford last missed games in 2019 when he missed eight starts due to non-displaced fractures in his upper thoracic spine.