Stafford and Lions Part Ways

Dawson Jenkins, Sports Writer

Matthew Stafford’s time in Detroit is no longer after spending 12 seasons with the organization. A trade was recently finalized sending Stafford to the La Rams in exchange for Jared Goff and a pair of future first round picks and a second rounder. 

Being drafted with the 1st overall pick in the 2009 NFL draft, there were lofty expectations set for the signal caller taking over a franchise that was coming off a 0-16 campaign. Unfortunately for Stafford and the Lions, many of those aspirations that were expected never came to fruition. Anyone could point at many different things that contributed to the lack of team success under Stafford.

Senior Kevin Zehnder, a Lions fan, offers his insight on the topic.

“Not having a lot of help from the team around him played a big factor in the underperformance of the team under Stafford, I believe if he would’ve had a stable run game that would have alleviated some of the pressure off him and allow the offense to find more of a rhythm. The ability to run the ball could have set up play action on 3rd downs and definitely open up the passing game more,” Zehnder said.

That seemed to be a recurring theme with Stafford while in Detroit, not having a competent run game or a defense that could keep the offense off the field. Usually it was a combination of the two that doesn’t usually lead to much team success as a result. 

Stafford leads the league since 2011 for the most fourth quarter game winning drives with 22 total, regularly putting the team in a position to win. 

There have already been early projections for Stafford in L.A. to make a run for the Super Bowl with the team he now has around him. Highlighted by whom is believed to be the best Defensive lineman Aaron Donald, as well as top corner in the league Jalen Ramsey on defense. Cam Akers is a young and promising running back with many potential seasons ahead of him on offense.

Senior Blake Showers is optimistic regarding Stafford’s new situation with the Rams.

“I believe Stafford could accomplish a lot now that he is with the Rams because they are a successful organization with a lot to offer. With a quarterback of Stafford’s caliber taking control of the offense, They could go as far as winning the super bowl or at least making them contenders in the near future. It is definitely looking very bright for the rams with Stafford,” Showers said.

The Lions are starting fresh this season with new head coach Dan Campbell taking over for a Matt Patricia tenure that featured no playoff appearances and a 13-29-1 overall record in his three seasons in the motor city. Campbell has brought in a mostly new staff looking to be able to get the team started off on the right foot in the 2021 NFL season, along with young quarterback Jared Goff received in the trade with Stafford. 

Goff was under center for the Rams when they made an appearance in the 2018 Super Bowl vs the New England Patriots. The hope for the Lions is having a quarterback now that has been to the big game could provide them a winning culture in the future. Showers thinks Goff’s age may actually help the Lions.

“I believe that Jared Goff will do just as good if not better than Stafford, mostly because their play styles are so similar. The longevity Goff can provide being 7 years younger than Stafford will be valuable to the Lions. Me being a Lions fan I just hope he can win more games than Stafford did,” Showers said.

Many different people have differing opinions on which team “won” the trade between the Lions and Rams. The Lions receive a younger quarterback along with 2 future first rounders, and the Rams receive a player who is considered a better veteran QB putting them in a win now situation. As opposed to the Lions who are in a position to develop Goff and build around their future 1st round picks. 

Junior Nathan Dolton felt the trade was less than perfect.

Matthew Stafford

Go Lions!” by Brook Ward

“You know it was really a good trade for both teams, but I’m gonna say the Rams because, yeah they gave up those draft picks and all, but when you are in a position like the Rams not necessarily a top tier team, but are really good, you’re looking for the pieces that will put you over the hump. Matthew Stafford is one of the best options on the market for a lower contract compared to Goff’s.” Dolton said.