Stafford, who dealt with an elbow injury last season, received an injection in his right elbow during the offseason. He did not throw during the Rams’ spring workouts, saying he and the team were trying to be smart with his throwing arm.
Stafford threw during individual and 7-on-7 drills on Thursday but did not take part in the team reps. McVay said earlier in the week that he doesn’t expect Stafford to do so before the Rams leave Irvine on Aug. 10.
McVay said the Rams’ athletic training staff and Stafford “tried some things in the offseason” with the goal of alleviating some of the pain he was feeling in his elbow. McVay said going into camp the Rams knew they wanted to have a “modified approach and a progressive build.”
“Could he do it? Yes,” McVay said. “Is that the best thing? We didn’t think so. And I think I’ve got a responsibility to try to make decisions that are in the best alignment using medical experts and talking with Matthew. And so all of those things combined led to where we’re at right now. And it is an ever-evolving process, but we are really taking over these next couple weeks, seeing how they go.”
McVay said Wednesday that Stafford’s pain isn’t a setback but is “consistent with what’s been going on” with the 34-year-old.
“[You] want to try to have him operate in as little pain as possible,” McVay said. “I think anytime that you’ve played as long and are as tough as he is, I don’t know if you’re ever truly pain-free, but the goal would be for Sept. 8 and really looking towards 17 games then hopefully some games after that if we earn that opportunity.
“That’s kind of the perspective and the big-picture approach that we want to be able to take. I don’t know that I would feel as comfortable taking that approach if it wasn’t for the experience that he’s accumulated and knowing how intentional he is about staying up to speed with his mental and his physical work that he can do in the absence of some of the stuff in the team settings.”
McVay said he thought Stafford “looked really good” during practice on Thursday.
“Even in routes on air, in the types of throws where you’re really seeing all parts of the field being activated, that’s a really good thing,” McVay said. “And so I’ve definitely seen improvement. He was making those types of throws before, but being able to just do it in a smart fashion is kind of what we’re really hunting out.”