Matthew Stafford adjusting to new surroundings, system as Rams' new quarterback
It took a few minutes, but eventually, the Los Angeles media got some clarification from former Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford during his introductory press conference on Friday.
"I prefer Matthew," he said.
And just like that, the 12-year NFL veteran was off and running with his new life in Hollywood.
That question, of course, directly followed a Clayton Kershaw inquiry, as Stafford held back a smile while answering a familiar set of questions, in a place that's currently anything but.
"It definitely felt different. There's a lot of change," Stafford said about entering the Los Angeles Rams facility for the first time.
"It's a big process, going and seeing the locker room, seeing the practice facility, where I'm going to go to work most days, is something that's different, but it's exciting at the same time. It's something that I hope to make home really quick, and hopefully for a long time."
Detroit and Los Angeles made the trade of Stafford for Jared Goff, two first-round picks and a third official on Thursday. The deal has been in place for over a month, but for the first time, Stafford was able to talk about playing for the Rams openly.
Soon enough, there will be a sense of familiarity with his new team, with his new head coach Sean McVay, and with the front office that pushed all its chips to the middle of the table to land him.
But after spending more than a decade in a city starving for football success, the expectations are nothing new.
"I don't care what team you're playing for, your job is to try to get that team to a Super Bowl," Stafford said. "Obviously I didn't get it done the first 12 years of my career, I've got a new opportunity to come out here and give it a shot. I'm going to do everything I possibly can."
There are plenty of lifestyle differences that set Detroit and Los Angeles apart. To make things less confusing for their four young children, Stafford and his wife Kelly have told them they're simply "moving to the beach."
But from a football standpoint, Stafford acknowledged that moving from the system of former Lions offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell to the heralded offense of McVay is "going to be a new language."
"They're pretty different," Stafford said. "It's probably going to be a little bit different style of play.
"I'm excited to get the opportunity to play for him and this team. Part of what makes him a great play caller and all great play callers is having trust in the quarterback. Hopefully I can build that over time, and he can trust me to go make plays."
Essentially, Stafford is hoping to forge the relationship and mirror the success that McVay and Goff had in the early years of McVay's tenure in Los Angeles.
"We had kinda spoken about trying to get to a place where the team was ready to have success in short time," Stafford said of his trade request. "Obviously, the Rams are a team like that. They've had a bunch of success as a team, that's something that attracted me to them."
Goff went 24-7 as a starter under his first two years with the passing-game whiz kid after going winless in seven starts as a rookie, reached the Super Bowl in 2018, and earned selections to Pro Bowl in both seasons.
The Rams moved on from Goff after going 19-13 the following two seasons, which is still a better record than Stafford matched over any two-year period in Detroit. And as the new Los Angeles quarterback noted Friday, "just because it happened in years past, doesn't mean it's going to happen again."
"You want to win games, you want to be in those big moments," Stafford said. "Being on the other end of that, not having too many playoff chances under my belt, it's frustrating."
In the meantime, Stafford will continue to adjust, learn and wait. There are people to meet, places to go, and playbooks to study.
But for those wondering, he does, in fact, hope to make it to Dodger Stadium to see his pal Kershaw "do his thing,"
And if he's being completely honest: "Sunshine is nice."
Nolan Bianchi is a freelance writer.