Barry Sanders Weighs in on if Lions’ Matthew Stafford Is Elite

Matthew Stafford

Getty Matthew Stafford shares a smile with Baker Mayfield in 2019.

The Detroit Lions have a quarterback who’s been at it for a while in Matthew Stafford who rarely gets his due, but as long as he has the support of the legendary Barry Sanders, what does it really matter?

Recently, while helping out at Ford Field for a volunteer event, Sanders was asked about Detroit’s start and specifically, what has impressed him about the team. In terms of the answer, Stafford was brought up and the legendary running back thinks the team is in great hands with the man who’s calling the shots under center.

“I think we’re off to a great start. I think he’s one of those guys from my perspective is very well respected around the league. I think it’s kind of similar to when I played. You know when you play him, you know you’re in for a dogfight. That the Lions aren’t the roll over team anymore,” Sanders told WXYZ’s Brad Galli.

Thus far, with a solid start to the season, that looks to be the case. Stafford has proven he can bring the team back in the fourth quarter, is set to be one of the most decorated passers in league history and is never to be counted out on the field for his work.

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Elite Debate

But is Stafford an elite quarterback, a guy capable of taking the next step and leading the team or the franchise over the top? It’s something every team asks about their quarterback if they have a player not named Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees leading their team.

While the numbers say yes, the jury can still be seen as out in several circles. According to Sanders, the answer to that question is a resounding yes as well.

“When they play Matt, they’re playing a real NFL player that is elite, so that’s another reason we’re very excited about this season,” Sanders said.

High praise from one of the best runners to ever do it in league history. Obviously, Stafford has to take some more steps and continue to win, but for right now, he has the support of the face of the franchise.

No Love From Bleacher Report

Stafford was targeted this past week with a parody video from the site, but as it turned out, he didn’t think much of the joke.

“I didn’t see it. Somebody disrespecting us? Nobody mentioned it to me. Do I need to check it out?,” Stafford said to the media this week when told of the video. When a reporter then offered the video to Stafford on his phone, he turned it down and laughed it off.

“I’ll not look at it some other time,” Stafford says with a laugh. Consider the video sufficiently burned and buried.

For those who hadn’t seen, Bleacher Report put out another installment of their Gridiron Heights parody series, and Stafford was the target. The video profiles Stafford while showing several of the other quarterbacks and personalities of the NFC North and is a parody of the Joker movie with Stafford detailing several of his career failings through the years.

Much like Sanders let things roll off his back, the same can be said for Stafford. It’s another reason Sanders is right when he says Stafford is an elite player.

READ NEXT: Barry Sanders Discusses Lions 2019 Start

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