Matthew Stafford’s elbow is still an issue; how big of a problem will it be in 2022?

USA TODAY Sports

The Rams have made it clear that quarterback Matthew Stafford has “no limitations” for Week One, due to a chronic elbow problem. The real question is whether limitations will arise in Week Two or thereafter.

There’s an issue with the elbow. That’s undisputed. When talking about it with reporters recently, Stafford deliberately stopped short when he said, “[I] still think there’s. . . . I don’t know.”

Here’s what he know. He had a procedure in the offseason on the elbow. He wore a brace after getting the injection to reduce inflammation in his elbow.

For some reason, that old news has been repackaged and presented as new news on Thursday morning.

“Rams QB Matthew Stafford underwent an off-season elbow procedure to deal with the pain he experienced last season and to help prepare for this season, per sources,” tweeted Schefty. “Despite the questions about his elbow, Stafford is now said to feel better today than he did at this time last year.”

It’s unclear whether this is a not-so-uncommon quota-filling misfire by Schefter or part of a quid-pro-quo effort to affirmatively spread the team’s Serenity Now message about Stafford as the season arrives.

All is well. All is fine. This is fine.

There’s still reason for concern. The Rams held Stafford out of team drills in multiple practices last month, as they tried to come up with a way to figure out what they determined to be a baseball injury. Eventually, he was able to fully participate in practices. He’s now ready to play in a game. What happens tomorrow, when he rolls out of bed and his elbow is or isn’t throbbing from making 20 or 30 or 40 or more throws that put the kind of pressure on the elbow that he hasn’t since February?

Consider the last part of Schefter’s tweet. “Stafford is now said to feel better today than he did at this time last year.” That does not mean he’s 100 percent. It just means he’s better now than he was a year ago, after going through training camp without extensive time away from team drills to protect the elbow.

Even though the Rams insist there are no limitations, it’s fair to wonder whether they are strategically concealing the truth (i.e., lying) so that the Bills aren’t ready tonight for, say, a run-heavy attack that protects Stafford’s elbow and keeps Buffalo’s high-powered offense on the sidelines.

Whatever the explanation, the fact remains that it’s been known for months that there’s an issue with the elbow. And it seems that the issue is still there. One of the biggest questions hovering over the Rams for the 2022 season is whether Stafford will be able to play effectively through whatever discomfort he may experience from Week One through Week 18, and beyond.

23 responses to “Matthew Stafford’s elbow is still an issue; how big of a problem will it be in 2022?

  1. Ok, but… didn’t Stafford play effectively last year, in spite of his elbow injury?
    Why wouldn’t he be able to do the same again this year?

  2. As many miles as that arm has on it, it’s gonna be a significant issue. The only question is, how badly is it gonna affect his play. I would love to see the Rams be a disaster again. Cannot wait to finally see a real game again tonight.

  3. The issue is injuries like this don’t just go away. They tend to get worse, especially when you do things to aggravate them, like playing a physical sport (see Sam Bradford, Cam Newton). Given that surgery only alleviated, but didn’t correct, the problem, Stafford’s shelf life in this sport has gotten far shorter. The Rams will likely be scouting aggressively for successor this upcoming off-season.

  4. Roethlisberger hurt his elbow 3 yrs ago. The 2 yrs following that? His arm went down to Lamar Jax strength. Rams may have to go to Plan B.

  5. Can’t wait for the reports that Stafford is undergoing Tommy John surgery next offseason.

  6. this is one of the Reason the 49ers kept JG this year they don’t wanna chance him signing with the rams, and end up playing the 49ers.

  7. Stafford has long been a medical basket case. Unfortunately he is aging and that is going to catch up. Don’t expect that noodle to get better.

  8. lasersepi says:
    September 8, 2022 at 12:10 pm
    Stafford has long been a medical basket case. Unfortunately he is aging and that is going to catch up. Don’t expect that noodle to get better.

    ———————-

    That ‘noodle’ threw for 283 yards and 3 tds in the Superbowl last year which is considered by some to be an acceptable way to end the season.

  9. lasersepi says:

    Don’t expect that noodle to get better.
    ___________________________

    One of the elite arms in NFL history is a “noodle?”

  10. re: the elbow. There is more to that than the Rams are letting on. Stafford is a gamer but how much more can he pull from that beat up body before it betrays him?

  11. computojon says:
    September 8, 2022 at 10:01 am
    Ok, but… didn’t Stafford play effectively last year, in spite of his elbow injury?
    Why wouldn’t he be able to do the same again this year?

    ———-

    Another year older, thousands of more throws between practice and games. I am sure the injury is more impactful each year.

  12. Stick a fork in them they are done.

    The ride last year was as easy as possible. Tampa injured, nomers went to green bay,

    Not gonna be a cake walk this year. The first loss is tonight

  13. Monster212 says:
    September 8, 2022 at 11:37 am
    this is one of the Reason the 49ers kept JG this year they don’t wanna chance him signing with the rams, and end up playing the 49ers.

    ———————-

    Actually I think it was Seattle. JG would not win a starting job over Stafford, so it would still be Stafford SF has to worry about. But if he goes to Seattle he starts instead of what they have there currently.

  14. laslonelyraiderfan says:
    September 8, 2022 at 10:54 am
    Can’t wait for the reports that Stafford is undergoing Tommy John surgery next offseason.

    ————————-

    So you will want to see him get back for a third ring?

  15. If they thought it was a big deal, the Rams would have sold the farm for a competent backup. Draft picks don’t matter to them. They could have had someone like Tyrod Taylor or traded for Darnold for insurance.

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