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Matthew Stafford embraces Rams' high expectations

It was observed by a reporter during Friday morning's introductory video conference that new Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford did not seem "like a Hollywood type of guy."

That would be correct, according to Stafford – but for a good reason.

"I am not a celebrity, Hollywood-type of guy," Stafford said. "But listen, I'm very focused on football when I'm here."

Stafford may be a private individual, but he very much welcomes the high expectations and bright lights placed on the Rams, driven to deliver on them however he can.

He arrives in Los Angeles just as the Rams finished with their fourth winning (above-.500) season through Sean McVay's first four as Rams head coach and third playoff appearance. The Rams have also won a pair of NFC West titles and an NFC championship during that span.

On top of that success, the Rams' home – SoFi Stadium – is hosting next year's Super Bowl, raising the stakes even more. The standards are elevated, but they are one of the reasons why the Rams were a preferred trade destination when he approached the Lions front office with his request in January.

"We had kind of spoken about trying to get to a place to where the team was ready to have success in short time, and 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. There are other teams that were possibilities, no question, it just happened to work out the way they did."

Stafford is already connecting with his new Rams teammates. He said he has talked to Andrew Whitworth and some of the Rams' other offensive linemen, as well as wide receivers Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp.

"From afar, they just do an outstanding job of, you know, getting open," Stafford said of Woods and Kupp, also praising the duo's football IQ and run-after-catch abilities. "It's pretty impressive to watch those two guys go."

That Stafford embraces such lofty goals comes as no surprise, considering his well-established reputation for thriving under pressure. According to, his 38 career game-winning drives are tied with the Falcons' Matt Ryan for third-most among active quarterbacks.

"Just being able to play that position, with the type of pressure in those circumstances, you talk about mental toughness, being your best when your best is required, that competitive greatness, those are all the things that (he) reflects," McVay said during a separate video conference Friday. "That's what's so exciting. You definitely don't ever feel like it's too big for him."

Stafford has had plenty of those moments in the regular season, but hasn't had the chance to do it often in the postseason. The Lions made the playoffs just three times in his 12 seasons with the organization; their most recent appearance coming in 2016.

All the more motivation to help the Rams sustain their established success.

"It's exciting, it's something that drew me as a, I guess, tradeable asset at some point that the Rams were a team that were proven winners, had done it quite consistently over the last four or five years, something that was exciting to me," Stafford said. "And obviously being on the other end of that, not having too many playoff chances under my belt is frustrating. It's tough. You play this game for success as a team and you want to win games and be in those big moments, so I'm excited to hopefully have that opportunity.

"That isn't guaranteed to us. Just because it happened in years past doesn't mean it's going to happen again. We've got to go out there and earn it, and I'm going to do everything I can to make sure we earn it."

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