Matthew Stafford plays down the elbow issue that keeps him from taking part in team drills

USA TODAY Sports

Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford is not participating in team drills as he deals with a problem with his throwing elbow. He met with reporters on Saturday, and the arms issue was obviously a major topic. Stafford tried to make it a minor.

“I just have a little pain,” Stafford said. “We are working on it. I felt pretty good today. I thought it looked pretty good. I’m just trying to be smart with it and make myself feel as good as possible before the first week while still getting as many reps as possible.

He said he had “general pain” in his elbow. As to whether it happens after he throws or all the time, Stafford said, “I don’t know. It does not matter.”

Stafford called the situation “irritating at the moment, but I’m getting through it”.

“We have a great plan,” Stafford said. “I feel stronger every time I come here and throw. I don’t know if you were watching, I felt like I could make any pitch I wanted today. I just try to be smart when I have these opportunities to make sure I can come here, let go, let go like I did today and go from there.

He said that one Saturday his arm “felt great. . . felt good.”

Stafford doesn’t get caught up in labels, including a baseball injury.

“I don’t know if it’s a baseball injury or a football injury,” Stafford said. “I currently play football and it’s on a football player so I guess it’s a football injury at this stage. I’m not really too worried about what it’s called or if it’s Abnormal or not, or whatever. I’m worried about here today. How did I feel? Let’s keep improving and improving.

Stafford said all the fair and predictable things otherwise. He always had a level of tenacity and courage. It’s wonderful. And that makes him reluctant to admit that something might be wrong.

That said, he got surprisingly candid when asked if the injury was linked to the longevity of his career, which dates back to 2009.

“I’m not going to go into too much detail about how we got here,” Stafford said. “I don’t think that’s the only cause, but I’m sure it contributes to it. Every time you put an arm under as much stress as I have over the years, it won’t look like your elbow, I’m sure. It’s not one of those things that. . . the more I throw, the worse it will get. It’s kind of just a balancing act at this point.

The Rams struck a balance by keeping him out of team drills, while letting him participate in individual drills. Whether that balance will work once the season begins remains to be seen.

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