ESPNA Aug 28, 2023 11:40 am ET4 Minute Read
Will the Rams bounce back from a disappointing 2022 season?
Bill Barnwell details the Rams’ struggles in 2022 and whether they have what it takes to bounce back this season.
The Los Angeles Rams roster has seen tremendous turnover in the two years since the team won Super Bowl LVI, and according to his wife Kelly, quarterback Matthew Stafford is finding it difficult to connect with his teammates due to the influx of young people .
“It’s kind of crazy. So Matthew has been in the league a long time. He says, ‘The difference in the dressing room has changed so significantly.’ They have a lot of newcomers in their team, they are very young. But he’s like, ‘I feel like I can’t connect,'” Kelly Stafford said on her podcast, The Morning After With Kelly Stafford, last week. .
“You used to come out of practice, shower, and people would play cards and interact. Who knows what they’re doing, but they’re doing something together. They’re playing table tennis and they’re having a tournament.” At least they would talk. But now, when they come out of training and meetings during training camp, they go straight to their phones. Nobody looks up from their phones. Matthew says, “I don’t know.” …am I the father? Should I take their phones with me? What am I doing here?’ He says, ‘I don’t want them to think of me as a coach.'”
Matthew Stafford, 35, is starting his 15th NFL season and is his third with the Rams. The Rams enjoyed a stable lineup in their first two seasons, but several high-profile players left free agency or were traded off this year. Such is the turnover on defense that defensive lineman Aaron Donald and middle linebacker Ernest Jones are the only defensemen who ushered in the team’s Super Bowl win over the Cincinnati Bengals. The team also selected 14 players for the 2023 NFL draft.
Now Kelly Stafford says her husband struggles to get his new teammates to see him as an equal.
“You say ‘sir’ to him and s—” she said. “He was like, ‘No, we’re on the same level here, we both play in the league. Let me get to know you.’ He said it was so different and so hard to meet these guys. He printed a book. He had the tech print a book with all their faces and all their names because he said, ‘I have to. Know their names.’ We need to talk, so I’m going to find their names and say, “Hey so-so, how was your weekend?” So they know I know them, and maybe we should get to know each other so there’s chemistry on the field.”
“But I think nowadays it’s really difficult to develop that because all these little kids don’t care. Or it’s not that they don’t care, but they’re so used to going straight to their phones instead of having them.” It’s fun with a bunch of guys in the locker room. It is different. It’s kind of sad.”
Kelly Stafford said she and her husband planned to throw a team party, but those plans were scrapped when her home was flooded due to the aftermath of Tropical Storm Hilary. She said if they took the team out to dinner, most of the guys would attend, but then suggested they go “to the club” and not talk at dinner. She said that when they were with the Detroit Lions, the franchise was good at hosting events, and she suggested the Rams follow suit.
“I would set it up so that the players have one box that they can all go in.” [Messi] Game so they can hang out,” she said. “The Lions always had events and were good at them. So when you lose or win, feels like it doesn’t mean as much anymore because your team isn’t as connected as it used to be.
“I think Matthew feels it the most because he’s his age and he’s such a leader on the team. But he says, ‘I don’t know how to lead people I don’t connect with. I have to find some way to connect with them.’ them.'”