Detroit Lions: McVay says Matthew Stafford exceeding expectations

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports /

Recently Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay claimed that former Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford is better than expected.

Over the past few months, McVay hasn’t kept his feelings about Matthew Stafford quiet in the least; he’s often spoken highly over his new signal-caller.  McVay has basically said Stafford is like driving a Ferrari compared to a Ford Tempo he’d been forced to commute with in the past, without saying precisely that.

Since the former Detroit Lions franchise passing leader joined McVay in Los Angeles, McVay can do nothing but smile.  The often animated McVay is always the first to greet Stafford after he returns to the sideline on each of the Rams touchdown drives.  Earlier in the season, McVay sprinted to the endzone to celebrate with veteran receiver DeSean Jackson after he was the recipient of a deep touchdown reception before finding his quarterback.

In an article published by SI, written by Madeline Coleman, McVay tells us that Stafford has already exceeded his expectations.

"“He has been better than I thought, and I thought he was going to be really good,” McVay said. “I’ve been really impressed with his body of work and his resume over the course of his career. I think he’s doing a great job. I think the best players elevate those around them. I think guys are playing better around him. I think he’s seeing the field really well.”"

It’s not the first time the former Detroit Lions quarterback has elevated the players around him.

Do you remember Kris Durham?

Durham recorded 490 yards on 38 receptions, including two touchdowns in 2013.  He’d follow that up with 54 total receiving yards after leaving Detroit in favor of Tennessee before his career came to a close.

That’s just one of the first pass-catchers that came to mind.  Stafford also made star receivers such as Calvin Johnson along with Golden Tate better and, more recently, Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones.

Johnson would have been a sure-fire Hall Of Famer regardless of who his quarterback was, and that is not a knock on Stafford; it’s just a testament to how great Johnson performed.  That being said, Stafford indeed could find Johnson early and often and was not afraid to fire it into double and sometimes triple coverage.  Stafford had the arm strength and the tenacity to stand in a muddy pocket and deliver the football on time to his future Hall Of Fame pass-catcher.

What about Golden Tate?

In four seasons with Seattle, Tate totaled 2,195 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns.  With the Detroit Lions in four and a half seasons Tate corralled 416 balls totaling 4,741 yards and 22 touchdowns.

Since leaving Detroit, the current free agent has totaled 1,342 receiving yards and nine touchdowns.

What about Marvin Jones?

During the 2017 season, Jones led the league with an 18 yards per reception average and produced a career-high 1,101 receiving yards, which still stands.  It was the only time in Jones’ career to date he’s amassed the 1,000-yard mark.  During his tenure with the Lions, Jones managed a 14.9 yards per reception total, just over two yards per catch better than his days with Cincinnati.

The fact that Stafford has the likes of Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, Van Jefferson, and DeSean Jackson at his disposal, along with an elite play-caller in McVay, it’s no surprise he’s totaled a stellar 1,838 passing yards and 16 touchdowns to four interceptions thus far in 2021.

Stafford is also averaging a career-high 9.2 yards per attempt and 69.5% completion percentage.  Expect to see career-highs from Kupp and Woods this season.

Kupp currently leads the league with 46 receptions and seven touchdowns through the season’s first six games.  Woods and Stafford haven’t built the same chemistry yet, but he’s totaled 353 yards on 29 catches and two touchdowns.

Next. Stafford ripping out the hearts of most fans. dark

Second-year pass-catcher Van Jefferson has already amassed his rookie totals in just six games this season.   Jefferson has 17 catches averaging a whopping 15.4 yards per grab for 261 yards and two touchdowns.