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Sean McVay viewed Kelly Stafford’s comments about the Rams’ generation gap “as more of a joke”

Kelly Stafford, the wife of Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford, recently had some surprising comments about the generational divide in the team’s locker room, which has left Matthew at a loss when it comes to connecting with his younger teammates.

On Tuesday, coach Sean McVay was asked whether he has any concerns in the aftermath of her remarks.

“No, I’m not concerned because I think if you know Kelly, I took that as more of a joke at the old man,” McVay told reporters. “And I’ll be honest, there’s a couple throws that he made during training camp where I wanted to say, ‘Yes sir,’ to him as well. He’s done a great job being able to . . . I mean, if you watch and if you come out to camp, this guy’s done a phenomenal job of leading, connecting with his teammates. I think it’s one of those deals that becomes a fun narrative in a dead period. And I know Kelly well enough to know that she was probably taking a good old rib at the old man as her husband’s getting older playing, but this guy’s done a phenomenal job and I know how much he loves his teammates and how much they love him. That is the least of my concerns.”

Like many comments that get brushed off as a nothing-to-see-here joke, it’s hard to find the punchline in her observations. The comments sounded like an actual observation regarding the fact that Matthew Stafford’s younger teammates spend most of their time with their faces in their phones, making it harder to connect with them.

McVay believes otherwise.

“He’s one of the most emotionally intelligent and authentically good people that I’ve been around,” McVay said regarding his quarterback. “His ability to connect on a personal and a football level with guys, that comes really seamless to him. And so, I think the best part about these locker rooms is you already have a similar common ground where everybody loves football. Those are the types of guys that we want to onboard and then just the way that he carries himself in terms of the way he treats everybody with respect, the way that he’s really intentional about trying to get to know people and ask those types of questions. And there’s a reverence and a respect that he’s earned because of what he’s done in this league. And it’s no different than really the reverence and respect they have for other guys that have been veterans and that have performed at a high level because of the way they go about their work day in and day out. . . .

“If anybody that’s been out there, if you’re saying, ‘He’s not enjoying and he’s not connecting,’ then you haven’t been watching the same things that I’ve been watching. And I think that’s what comes really natural to him and that’s one of the coolest things of being around Matthew is I feel like I learned just watching the way he moves throughout the course of the day in terms of how you want to handle yourself in a manner that’s reflective of elevating people and bringing people along with you.”

That’s fine, but she still said what she said. And it still didn’t sound like a joke. And it’s no surprise that McVay would try to characterize the potential issue as a non-issue, with the Rams only 12 days away from the first real test of whether everyone is on the same page.