Monday, August 2nd, 2021


 “In Jared Goff, McVay had a student. In Matthew Stafford, McVay has a peer.” – King on the Sean McVay-Matthew Stafford relationship in Los Angeles

 “He needs to play opening day…Some guys run 4.3. Some guys play 4.3. He’s the kind of guy who plays fast.” – Cowboys Head Coach Mike McCarthy to King on Rookie 12th Overall Draft Pick LB Micah Parsons

“Your new team wants to see your talent level, which he has, but they also want to see how he carries himself. I think that’s what they’ve been impressed with.” – 49ers Head Coach Kyle Shanahan to King on Rookie QB Trey Lance

STAMFORD, Conn. – August 2, 2021 – Peter King began his annual training camp tour this week, visiting the Rams, Cowboys, 49ers and Raiders in this week’s edition of Football Morning in America, available now exclusively on King provides insights from each camp and speaks with new Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford and head coach Sean McVay, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan, Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott and rookie linebacker Micah Parsons, and Raiders general manager Mike Mayock.

The following are highlights from this week’s edition of Football Morning in America:


King on new Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford: “How amazing is it that a quarterback who was drafted first overall by Detroit in 2009, and never won a division title in 12 seasons, and never won a playoff game in 12 seasons, is now unabashedly viewed by some of the most respected people in football – (Aaron) Donald and coach Sean McVay, for two – as the missing piece in a Rams’ championship.”

Aaron Donald to King on hugging Stafford during practice: “I mean, I’m just so happy he’s on our team. I hugged him, just because. I said to him, ‘Man, I just wanna give you a hug.’ … He’ll be throwing the ball at practice, and I’m rushing, trying to win the play, and the throws he makes, the balls he throws, throwing to spots, how perfect a spiral it is. It’s crazy. As a competitor, I’m just happy. Happy he’s here.”

King on Stafford to the Rams: “McVay fell in like with Stafford during a chance meeting with him while vacationing in Mexico in late January. (Both men say the encounter was unplanned.)…In Jared Goff, McVay had a student. In Matthew Stafford, McVay has a peer.”

King: “To McVay, a quarterback needs a lot of traits, but two important ones are disciplined reads going through his options on a play, and boldness on downfield throws – the ability and mental acuity to be willing to take risks when it’s smart. Clearly, those are traits McVay sees in Stafford.”

McVay to King on Stafford: “When you really study him, you see the intricacies of quarterback position. He’s playing it at the highest level in the most difficult spots…His ability to navigate the pocket, his movement, his feel for the rush, his ability to keep his eyes down the field. And then to exhaust your progression against that rush, that’s something in the NFL that a quarterback just has to do.”

Stafford on McVay’s offense: “I mean, it’s very complex. At the same time, it all makes sense…As far as fitting me, I think it probably fits most quarterbacks to tell you the truth. It’s a really good offense. I’m excited to try to bring it to life.”

Stafford to King on if he felt he let the Lions down: “Definitely. I sit there and go, ‘Man, I wish I could’ve gotten it done.’ I mean, it would’ve been amazing to have a Super Bowl parade down Woodward Avenue in Detroit. Didn’t happen. Tough pill to swallow as a competitor and somebody who touches the ball on every single offensive play.”


King on what the Cowboys need this season: “The defense gets some juice it never had all last year…Dak Prescott is able to return to form. The Cowboys need a top five offense, in a big way, because they’re not going to be dominant on D. So I bring you the two most important players in the franchise this season: first-round linebacker Micah Parsons and Prescott.”

Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy to King on Parsons: “He needs to play opening day. You have to trust what your eyes are telling you. And when I watch him, I see a fluid and explosive player. This game’s not too big for him. Some guys run 4.3. Some guys play 4.3. He’s the kind of guy who plays fast. He looks like he’s done this at this level before.”

King on Parsons: “He could be a classic middle linebacker at 248 pounds, with the added benefit of quickness to chase down plays. Dallas wanted the kind of playmaking Fred Warner/Bobby Wagner-type ‘backer, and they’re going to give Parsons the chance to be him.”

King on Prescott: “The last time we saw Prescott, he was on the field trying to put his ankle back together against the Giants last Oct. 11. I don’t recall the outpouring of emotion for a player injury like I saw that day.”

Prescott to King on when his ankle injury occurred: “My mom had always told us when we got hurt, just to get off the field so she knew that we were like okay. I initially thought I had rolled it and I had looked and grabbed my ankle and it was facing the other way. I’m like, ‘No way.’ I just was trying to like, I thought maybe if I slammed it into place a couple times it’d just snap back or maybe it was just dislocated and it wasn’t broken, stuck like it was. When I did that a couple of times and it didn’t move, that’s when I just started waving to get help.”

McCarthy on Prescott’s reaction: “I walked up on him when he was down on the field,” McCarthy told me, “and I don’t think I’ve seen anything exactly like it. He was trying to put his ankle back together, right there on the field. It was almost – this  isn’t quite the right word – but it was almost barbaric”

Prescott on how his ankle feels: “I can say, at this point honestly, it might not feel quite like my left leg. But as far as pain or as far as anything that I think something’s wrong – I mean, absolutely not. It may take me a little bit longer to warm it up than it obviously would this left leg. Once I’m going and rolling, there’s not anything that I think about with my ankle.”

King on the NFC East: “Fascinating team, as Dallas usually is. I thought Washington, with its strong defense, would be the king of a weakened East again. But I’m leaning Dallas now.”


King: “I’ve learned that these summer practices are not just about who wins the starting right guard job. They’re time for rookies to prove themselves – to show the veterans on both sides of the ball whether they can be trusted. It’s a long process…But every snap, every seam route is Trey Lance’s chance with this team to show if/when he can wrestle the starting job from Jimmy Garoppolo.”

49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan to King on Lance: “We’re on the practice field now and you’re a first-round pick so everyone’s looking at you. Your new team wants to see your talent level, which he has, but they also want to see how he carries himself. I think that’s what they’ve been impressed with…He goes out there and he’s not scared to fail. He goes out there and lets it rip, and there’s some good, some bad. Players can feel it.”

49ers linebacker Fred Warner to King on Lance: “You see the raw talent, and you see the ball fly out of his hand. Impressive…We’re seeing a young guy work and be humble and make throws like that. That’s what he needs to do.”

King: “The team gave every player an iPad to study plays and the playbook and that day’s gametape. Of the 90 players in camp, guess whose iPad has registered the most minutes used on the Niners’ internal server – where every login is recorded? Trey Lance’s iPad.”

49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to King on the team drafting Lance: “No one ever wants to get that call. The first thing I asked John (Lynch) was, ‘Am I still gonna get a chance to compete for the job?’ He said, ‘Yeah, absolutely.’ That’s really all I can ask for, being a player…You don’t want to have weird feelings about him, or take it out on him. I welcomed him with open arms. If he asks me anything, I’m willing to help.”

Shanahan to King on when Lance may play this season: “In this business, if you’re trying to plan out the next six months and say, ‘Where’s it going?’ that’s a mistake. You can’t do it. What I told Jimmy right when we made the trade is, ‘I don’t know any rookie who can come and beat you out if you’re playing at his best self…I truly don’t know what’s going to happen here.”


King on Raiders GM Mike Mayock: “This is the third year for the man who went from combine prophet to NFL GM – and he needs a big year after 15-17 in his first two seasons, and an underwhelming performance from his drafts…In our conversation, he says it’s time for the top picks who have disappointed so far, such as disappointing first-rounders Clelin Ferrell, Johnathan Abram and Damon Arnette, to play like their pedigrees.”

Mayock to King: “It’s time to win. We started 6-4 [in 2019] and couldn’t finish, and then 6-3 [in 2020] and couldn’t finish. That’s got to change…But we’ve been able to have an off-season this year, and we’ve had great attendance in the building.”

Mayock to King on his relationship with owner Mark Davis: “We’re two passionate people, and we can’t agree 100 percent of the time. But it’s nothing contentious. It’s two guys who study tape and have opinions. We’ve got a really good relationship.”

King on Mayock and head coach Jon Gruden: “I’m told Gruden’s not under any win-now mandate from the owner. Mike Mayock, I don’t know.”

Gruden to King on his time with the Raiders and being 19-29 in three seasons: “I’m not pissed. I’m excited about the progress we’ve made. We weren’t very good…I think we are improving. But I don’t like to lose. I don’t like hearing 19-29. I do like the feeling of progress. We were 6-2 in the West. 6-2 on the road, that’s pretty good. We gotta continue to get better obviously at home.”

King on Allegiant Stadium: “So the way the stadium was built, I’m told, will lend itself to high decibel levels when there’s a big crowd. The Raiders need that. They won their opener in the stadium last year, then went 1-6 at home, with zero fans all season.”

King on the Raiders: “Prediction? Mark me down for 8-9. Tough schedule, plus the need for the young players is so big. Lots of question marks here.”


King on Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley: “Not much has changed on the vax front with Cole Beasley, except he can’t stop talking about something that is fruitless…I’m starting to think, really, that the Bills’ season is going to be impacted by this campaign he can’t stop waging that will convince no one he is right.”

King on Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas’ ankle surgery: “When you get to a point where an injury suffered in September 2020 continues to linger, clearly there should have been a line of demarcation that said if the injury isn’t right by, say, April 1, surgery would be done. That obviously didn’t happen…For a team that runs such a tight, organized ship, it’s surprising that the Saints didn’t ride herd on this injury better.”

King on Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers: “I liked the fact that instead of dancing around tough topics and handling his issues in a passive-aggressive way, Rodgers spent his press conference elucidating exactly what troubled him and why he thinks he should have some (even small) say in the way his team operates on the field. I do understand the reticence to bring active players into the decision-making process. But this is 2021. And players realize if there’s something they want, and they feel strongly about it, they can make enough of a stink about it or simply demand an exit.”

Read the full FMIA column here and catch the weekly Peter King Podcast here.

A new “Football Morning in America” posts every Monday morning exclusively on through the NFL season. It was announced in May 2019 that King signed an exclusive agreement with NBC Sports Group that included writing a weekly Monday morning NFL column for; making regular appearances on PFT Live with Mike Florio; and continuing to contribute to Football Night in America, the most-watched studio show in sports.