That back injury ended up costing Stafford the rest of the season, but now that he has presumably healed up, the sky could be the limit for the quarterback during the 2020 season. In fact, some already see Stafford as being in the mix for a major award for his play during next season.
ESPN recently put together an Insider piece predicting some outcomes for the 2020 season. When it came to league MVP, there were scant votes for Stafford, but one insider was bold enough to say he thinks the Detroit quarterback could be the league MVP.
In a piece by MLive.com’s Benjamin Raven, the thoughts of ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler from the piece are presented. Here’s a look at what was written by Raven that Fowler shared in the piece:
“The Lions quarterback was playing some of the best ball of his career before going down with fractured bones in his back, though, and his level of play was reason enough for one ESPN analyst to pencil him in as the 2020 NFL MVP.
“Mahomes is still the game’s best player, but Stafford was playing really good football before his midseason back issues,” ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler writes (ESPN Insider). “If he leads Detroit to contention, which isn’t so farfetched considering the talent around him, he’ll be in the MVP mix because he puts up numbers and the NFC North is as open as Kenny Golladay.”
The Lions were arguably getting MVP level play out of Stafford before he got hurt, and the numbers proved that he was acclimating just fine to Darrell Bevell’s new offense in Detroit. Last season, Stafford was cruising along to the tune of 19 touchdowns, 5 interceptions and 2,499 yards. Clearly, he was the most valuable player for the Lions considering what happened to the team when he went down.
To become league MVP, the Lions will have to have an elite season on the field in terms of winning and also get great stats from Stafford. It might seem like a tall order, but it’s always possible if the Lions can finally play up to their potential.
Matthew Stafford Explains Feelings on 2019 Season
Stafford joined Tori Petry from DetroitLions.com for an exit interview following the completion of the 2019 season, and admitted to the frustration over not being able to reach goals and finish things off healthy as well as help his team to some more late season success.
“It’s been tough. Obviously, as a team, when you don’t win games, it’s difficult,” Stafford said in the interview. “I know the amount of hard work guys on our team and our coaching staff put into it and when the season doesn’t go the way you want it to, it’s not fun.”
For Stafford, the frustration was significantly over not being able to be on the field, even though he had a big role otherwise preparing the quarterbacks.
“For me personally, disappointed not being able to be out there. I love playing. I love playing with these guys. I love competing and not being able to do that was tough. I tried finding other ways to help us and stay involved as much as I possibly could, but nothing actually duplicates going out there and doing it.”
Stafford admitted his role didn’t change outside missing games, but the fact that he had to be a spectator wasn’t exactly something which made him happy. Easy to see, especially with how miserable the Lions finished.
Bob Quinn Speaks on Matthew Stafford’s Status
Will Stafford play for the Lions this coming season? His future has been open to interpretation with rumors swirling that the team could draft someone else or move on entirely. Bob Quinn, however, joined SiriusXM NFL Radio and explained why none of that could be the case at all.
“I’m totally comfortable and happy Matthew Stafford’s our quarterback. He’s going to be in full health once the offseason program starts its course. He’s pretty much at full health right now. Talked to him about 10 days ago,” Quinn said in the interview. “He was in the office so he’s feeling great. He’s in a good mindset, he’s excited. Obviously he’s a competitor so to miss half the season was hard on him. But he did a great job with our backup quarterbacks.”
Specifically, Quinn admitted he liked watching Stafford work with the backups and prepare them. That let him know the team is in good hands moving forward.
“Just behind the scenes, seeing him in a different light,” he said. “Since I’ve been there he’s been at every practice and every game. To see him in coach mode was pretty cool to see. He really cares about not only our team and his teammates and his leadership, really helping those other quarterbacks learn our system on the fly when he went down.”
That leads Quinn to feel positively about Stafford moving forward and the impact he might have on the team.
“I feel great about Matthew. He’s going to come back strong and we’re ready to go for next year,” he said.
These quotes would seem to throw cold water on the notion that the Lions would draft a quarterback early or decide to deal Stafford this offseason. Some of the chatter says otherwise.
Regardless, Stafford could be charting a course toward being in the mix for one of the top awards in the league.