Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford, 9, shown pressure from San Francisco 49ers defensive back K’Waun Williams, 24, is trying to recover from two underperformances. (Tony Avelar / Associated Press)
It’s going to be a different kind of Thanksgiving for Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford.
Before joining the Rams in January, Stafford played for 12 years for the Detroit Lions, who play a home game on Thanksgiving Day each season.
The Rams (7-3) have a walkthrough on Thursday but won’t play until Sunday when they face the Green Bay Packers (8-3) at Lambeau Field.
“I loved playing Thanksgiving for tradition, for the game, for all of that,” Stafford said on Wednesday, adding that he was always home with his family on time for Thanksgiving dinner. “It was a lot of fun to have the next few days off. You could eat leftovers and do all the fun things. “
Stafford looks forward to returning to Lambeau Field. He has a 7-13 record against the Packers and a 3-7 record at the historic stadium. But that doesn’t detract from his love of playing in the NFL.
Number 1 in the 2009 draft, Stafford first played at Lambeau Field in 2011 and passed for 520 yards and five touchdowns with two interceptions in a 45-41 loss.
“I remember 2011 like it was yesterday,” he said before giving details of the game.
The forecast for Sunday calls for partly cloudy conditions with temperatures around 30s. If that prediction is correct, Stafford will be prevented from enjoying one of his favorite pastimes at Lambeau Field.
“I love to play there in the snow,” he says. “As a child, you dream of playing the Packers in the snow at Lambeau Field.
“So don’t think that it will snow this week, but it will be nice and cool, which is always fun.”
Stafford wants to regain the form that made him a staple of conversations with the NFL’s most valued players in the first eight games of the season.
He has passed 24 touchdowns with eight interceptions.
But four of these interceptions occurred in the last two games – and two were returned for touchdowns. The ball losses put the Rams in deep holes, which led to losses to the Tennessee Titans and San Francisco 49ers.
The story goes on
Stafford played through his back stiffness and a sprained left ankle, so last week’s open appointment gave him time to recover physically and mentally.
“I want to do a better job in every single game, in every single game, in every single situation and try to make the right decision,” he said.
Kevin O’Connell, Offensive Coordinator and Quarterbacks Coach, said, “There is a lot of really good stuff” in Stafford’s 10-game performance. But the Rams need to collectively improve their offensive starts.
O’Connell says he anticipates Stafford will regain his form early in the season.
“As he has done throughout his career, he only picks his spots to really understand when he might need to push the boundaries of a decision and trusts his ability to take a few narrow window throws rather than the ball to control, toss completions, and to make drives a great start, “said O’Connell.
The Rams can’t afford to fall behind early on against a Packers team led by quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Last season, at his last appearance at Lambeau Field, Stafford had two touchdowns with an interception in a 42-21 loss to the Lions.
Now he’s back with the Rams who lost an NFC divisional round playoff game at Lambeau Field last January.
“He knows the venue, he knows its staff,” said coach Sean McVay, adding, “He also knows what a special venue it is, how difficult it is to go and compete to win . “.
“But I know he’s excited about it.”
External linebacker Leonard Floyd, who remains on the concussion log, has not exercised due to illness, McVay said. The disease is not related to COVID-19, he said. Floyd’s absence is not expected to affect his ability to play on Sunday, McVay said. … According to an injury report, cornerback Dont’e Deayon did not train because of a thigh problem. … The Rams were supposed to train on Thursday, but due to expected wind conditions the training was switched to a walk-through.
This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.