Rams coach Sean McVay intercepts Matthew Stafford turnovers

That’s no problem for the Rams coach Sean McVay.

Not yet anyway. Maybe never.

Two games in the season, Matthew Stafford is exactly where it was at the end of the 2021 regular season: No. 1 in the NFL in most passes intercepted.

Stafford takes part in Sunday’s NFC West opener against the Arizona Cardinals (1-1) after intercepting five passes – three in the season opener rout by the Buffalo Bills and two last Sunday victory over the Atlanta Falcons.

“You want to have them at a minimum,” McVay said on Wednesday, “but I also want to make sure it’s a fine line between not allowing him to compete at a high level. Where we want to be smart but aggressive.

Bulky interceptions do not necessarily spell disaster for a bouquets team trying to become the first in the NFL to repeat as a Super Bowl champion since the New England Patriots in 2004.

Last season, Stafford’s 17 interceptions tied then-Jacksonville Jaguars rookie Trevor Lawrence for the most in the NFL.

But Stafford had 41 touchdowns, and the Rams continued to win Super Bowl LVI.

Stafford, 34, is in his 14th season in the NFL, his second with the Rams. He intercepted 166 passes in 184 regular season games.

“You never want to return the ball, you don’t want to hurt the team,” Stafford said. “That’s what it’s about.

“It’s not about me, it’s not about my condition. It’s about what it does to our team, and I want to make sure I’m doing everything I can… to help our team win, not the other way around.

“So it’s a fine line to obviously make sure you play the game the way you know how to play the game, but do a great job of looking after it. And obviously I can do a better job in the first two.

The Cardinals, who were routed by the Kansas City Chiefs in their opener and came back to defeat the Las Vegas Raiders, are giving up a league-high 33.5 points per game. They rank second to last in pass defense, giving up 302 yards per game, haven’t intercepted a pass and have just one sack.

Since joining the Rams, Stafford has mostly enjoyed success against the Cardinals, passing for seven touchdowns, with just one interception.

In a Week 4 game last season, Stafford completed 20 of 37 passes for 280 yards and two touchdowns, with one interception, in a 37-20 loss at SoFi Stadium.

Two months later, he was 23 of 30 for 287 yards and three touchdowns, with no interceptions, in a 30-23 victory at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

In a 34-11 NFC wild-card victory at SoFi Stadium, Stafford completed 13 of 17 passes for 202 yards and two touchdowns, with no interceptions.

Stafford is “a Hall of Fame quarterback” and “one of the toughest players I’ve ever seen,” Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury said.

“It seems like when you blitz him, he’s got an answer,” Kingsbury said on a conference call with reporters from Los Angeles, “and when you try to sit down and do the cover, he’s going to find the guy. open. He’s been doing it for a long time.

As with Stafford, Kingsbury originated in Texas.

“I’m delighted with the success he’s had,” Kingsbury said, before joking, “I just hope he plays really badly on Sunday.”


The NFL announced that the tight end Brycen Hopkins has been suspended for three games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Hopkins, who hasn’t been targeted in the first two games, can’t return to the active roster until after the Rams. 9 game against the Dallas Cowboys. Tyler Higbee is the only tight end left on the roster. Jared Pinkney and Roger Carter Jr. are the tight ends of the practice squad. … The Rams have signed defensive end Takkarist McKinley, the team announced. McKinley was on the Tennessee Titans practice squad. McKinley played at UCLA and was selected by the Atlanta Falcons with the 26th overall pick in the 2017 draft. He played four seasons with the Falcons, where Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris was on staff, and last season with the Cleveland Browns. McKinley has 20 career sacks. … Cornerback Cobie Durant (hamstring) did not practice. Cornerback David Long (groin) was limited, according to the Rams injury report.