Los Angeles Rams QB Matthew Stafford embracing Super Bowl expectations

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- While far from settled in Southern California after 12 seasons with the Detroit Lions, new Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford is already embracing expectations of a Super Bowl run in Los Angeles.

"Sometimes feeling that pressure is a positive thing, I love that," Stafford said Friday during an introductory videoconference. "I want to be playing in those big games and those big moments, so for me, it's an opportunity more than anything."

The Rams acquired Stafford from Detroit in exchange for quarterback Jared Goff, a 2021 third-round pick and 2022 and 2023 first-round selections. The deal was agreed to on Jan. 30, but became official Thursday, a day after the start of the new league year.

Rams coach Sean McVay, who won two division titles, an NFC championship and made a Super Bowl LIII appearance with Goff in four seasons, said the chance to acquire a player of Stafford's caliber presented a rare opportunity.

"To be able to acquire somebody like him was an opportunity that we wanted to be aggressive about pursuing it, and fortunately it worked out," McVay said. "But by no means is it a reflection of not respecting and appreciating all the great things Jared Goff has done."

In 12 seasons with the Lions, Stafford made three playoff appearances but did not record a postseason win. He set franchise records with 3,898 completions, 45,109 passing yards, 282 passing touchdowns and 74 wins. With the Rams, Stafford joins an offense that returns receivers Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp, tight end Tyler Higbee and running back Cam Akers. The Rams also return at least four of five starting offensive linemen.

General manager Les Snead confirmed Friday that the team remains in the market for an explosive deep-threat receiver. "The difficult part of the equation is finding those players who can actually threaten NFL defenders," Snead said.

Uncertainty remains as to when Stafford will be able to meet new teammates and practice. Because of ongoing coronavirus restrictions, it's possible that he may have to become acquainted with McVay, teammates and a new offense system during a virtual offseason program.

"I imagined it's going to be limited in some capacity if not all the way," Stafford said. "So it will be an interesting opportunity and a challenge for me to get to know these guys as best as I can and make sure that they get to know me so that we can go out there and play as a team and win some games."

McVay, whose entering his fifth season as coach, expressed an eagerness to collaborate and get on the field with his new quarterback, who he anticipates will spark new looks for the offense.

"He's got great wide-field vision, sees the field, he's able to speed it up if he has issues," McVay said. "You're watching a guy that if you watch the film, the game makes sense to him, and I really respect the lens that he sees it through ... we're excited whenever that chance presents itself to be able to get to work."

Two seasons remain on Stafford's contract, but the 33-year-old said Friday that he was not concerned about signing an extension.

"My job, number one first and foremost, is to play at a high level and to help this team win football games, so that's what I'm focused on at the moment," he said. "I'm just gonna play and let all that other stuff take care of itself."

Stafford said the decision he came to with the Lions to move on from the organization was difficult, but added that the two sides spoke about trying to get him to a place where the team was ready for success in a short time.

"Obviously the Rams are a team like that," Stafford said. "They've had a bunch of success as a team, that's something that attracted me to them."

The Rams finished 10-6 last season and lost in a divisional playoff. They have made three playoff appearances in four seasons under McVay.

Along with several offensive starters, the Rams in 2021 return three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald and All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey.

Stafford already has visited the Rams temporary training facility in Thousand Oaks, as well as SoFi Stadium, which is anticipated to open to fans this season.

After spending 12 years with the Lions, Stafford said it "Definitely felt different," to see his new home, but added, "it's exciting at the same time. It's somewhere that I hope to make home really quick and hopefully for a long time."