Matthew Stafford feels like a rookie learning Rams’ system at OTAs

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Matthew Stafford is entering his 13th NFL season, but being with a new team has him feeling like a rookie again. Now a member of the Los Angeles Rams, he’s trying to learn a new system in a new city with new teammates – no easy task for any player, but especially a quarterback.

Stafford spent last week on the field with the Rams during their first portion of OTAs, but it was mostly just individual drills and weight room training. This week, players are back on the field for the start of Phase III, wearing helmets but no pads yet.

After Monday’s practice, Stafford met with the media for the first time since officially being introduced by the Rams. He shed some light on what he’s trying to gain from OTAs as he attempts to learn the playbook and his new teammates simultaneously, which makes him feel like one of the rookies.

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Developing a rapport with the likes of Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, DeSean Jackson and Van Jefferson will be crucial for Stafford, who’s coming from a team that featured Marvin Jones Jr. and Kenny Golladay. Jackson and Tutu Atwell will be Stafford’s deep threat, while Woods, Kupp and Jefferson will win with short and intermediate routes.

Every rep with his teammates is valuable at this point in the offseason as he tries to learn their tendencies.

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Sean McVay typically keeps his starters on the sideline during the preseason, especially those who are critical to the team’s success. Aaron Donald, Jalen Ramsey, Cooper Kupp, Cam Akers and Robert Woods will be among those who probably sit out the preseason, and Stafford should be, too.

He won’t push for preseason playing time, and on Monday, he emphasized the importance of joint practices.

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If Stafford sits out the preseason like the rest of the Rams’ stars are expected to, he’ll make his debut in L.A. on Sept. 12 against the Chicago Bears – the team’s season opener at SoFi Stadium on Sunday Night Football.

Not a bad way to kick off the next chapter of his career.