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Bucs coach Bruce Arians loves watching Matthew Stafford ‘throw from every angle’

Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford readies to take a snap against the Colts.
Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford didn’t have his best game against the Colts, but his veteran savvy made a difference in the outcome.
(Zach Bolinger / Associated Press)

It’s something of a game-day ritual for Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians whenever Matthew Stafford is the opposing quarterback.

Through the years, when Stafford played for the Detroit Lions and Arians was an assistant or head coach of other teams, Arians left the locker room early so could be on the field to watch Stafford warm up. Arians was not searching for flaws or ways that a defense could pressure Stafford. He simply enjoys watching the Rams quarterback throw a football.

“He can make every throw from every angle,” Arians said Wednesday during a conference call with Los Angeles reporters. “He’s just so talented, and I love watching really talented guys.”

On Sunday, Arians will be out early at SoFi Stadium to observe Stafford get ready for an early-season showdown against the Buccaneers and quarterback Tom Brady.

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After 12 seasons with the Lions, Stafford has helped the Rams to a 2-0 start. He has passed for 599 yards and five touchdowns, with an interception.

Starting running back Darrell Henderson is injured again, but that’s why the Rams acquired Sony Michel, who carried himself very well against the Colts.

Brady, 44, won six Super Bowls with the New England Patriots and added another last season with the Buccaneers. He is off to a sizzling start, passing for 655 yards and nine touchdowns, with two interceptions.

“What a talented guy, what a great leader to be able to do what he’s done at two different spots and really elevate the guys around him,” Stafford said of Brady after practice Wednesday. “So, I’ve got a ton of respect for what he’s done in the past and, shoot, for what he’s doing right now.

“I mean, he’s playing great football — about as good as I’ve ever seen him play.”

In his first season in coach Sean McVay’s system, Stafford also is playing well. He passed for three touchdowns in a season-opening rout of the Chicago Bears and, last Sunday, he passed for two touchdowns and engineered a winning drive for a field goal against the Indianapolis Colts in a 27-24 victory at Indianapolis.

Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians and Tom Brady have a discussion on the sideline.
With Tom Brady on hand, Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians understands the advantages of having a veteran quarterback leading the team. He also enjoys watching quarterbacks who can make all the throws.
(Don Montague / Associated Press)

On Wednesday, Stafford and his teammates prepped for the Buccaneers without McVay, who was absent from practice because of illness, a Rams spokesperson said. McVay tested negative for COVID-19, but he did not want to chance spreading a bug to players and staff, the spokesperson said.

The Rams got work done under the guidance of assistant coaches, Stafford said.

“We had a great day, operated the way we wanted to operate and got in the things we wanted to get in,” Stafford said. “Hopefully, he’s feeling better” on Thursday.

McVay and the Rams are seeking their second consecutive victory over the Buccaneers. Last season, the Rams won, 27-24, in late November in Tampa.

But that was before Brady and the Buccaneers hit their stride in December and rode their momentum to a Super Bowl victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.

Lions quarterback Jared Goff’s new chapter with Detroit has started rough, but patient will be needed before there are results.

Brady and his team appear to have picked up where they left off. They opened the season with a narrow victory over the Dallas Cowboys and then blew out the Atlanta Falcons.

Stafford, the top pick in the 2009 NFL draft, praised the ageless Brady, who was selected 199th overall in 2000.

“I know he likes to talk about what pick he was and all that stuff — the guy throws it about as good as anybody in the league, still,” Stafford said, adding, “He can do it all.

“You think about it, from the pocket that’s guy’s as good as it gets.”

Etc.

Running back Darrell Henderson (ribs) and outside linebacker Leonard Floyd (ankle) did not practice, according to the Rams’ injury report. Offensive lineman Andrew Whitworth and defensive lineman Aaron Donald were given rest days. ... The Denver Broncos signed linebacker Micah Kiser from the Rams practice squad. Kiser, a fifth-round draft pick in 2018, started nine games in 2020. Kiser was waived at the end of the preseason as the Rams opted to keep inside linebackers Kenny Young, Troy Reeder, Travin Howard and rookie Ernest Jones. ... The Buccaneers put wide receiver Antonio Brown on the reserve/COVID-19 list.


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