Speaking leading into this week’s game against the Detroit Lions, LaFleur was asked about Stafford and complemented not only his ability to lead his teams back, but his overall abilities as a quarterback. In fact, according to LaFleur, Stafford is one of the best quarterbacks in the entire NFL.
The full LaFleur quote, on why Stafford is so good late in games: "I think he’s good all the time. I think he’s got an elite arm talent. I think he’s unfairly criticized, to be quite honest. I think he’s one of the best QBs in the league"
— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) September 17, 2020
Such praise leading into a game can be routine for opposing coaches, but in the case of Stafford and LaFleur, it’s hard to believe there isn’t a little bit of true admiration. LaFleur knows offense after all, and does see Stafford 2 times a season given the rivalry between the teams in the NFC North.
Stafford has had an up and down career to this point in which he has flown under the radar in some circles, but that isn’t true for LaFleur, who seems to like him in a big way.
Damon Harrison: Matthew Stafford ‘Underrated’
Former Lions defensive tackle Damon Harrison got a look at a new ESPN list from NFL personnel showing a ranking of quarterbacks 1-10 in the league. Stafford placed in the No. 10 spot, and for Harrison, that wasn’t nearly good enough.
Harrison tweeted about the slight he perceived for a couple of NFC quarterbacks in Stafford and Tom Brady saying everyone was disrespecting the duo and it was “amazing.”
Y’all real life disrespecting TB and Staff…amazing https://t.co/PqEYNhjcRu
— Damon Harrison Sr. (@snacks) July 9, 2020
Stafford placing on the list at all is probably a miracle given how undervalued he has been for a long time with the Lions, but clearly, Harrison thinks he will be even better than the 10th best quarterback in the NFL next season. As for Brady, he’s joining a new league and a new team, but the track record should probably push him even higher on the list.
Harrison remains an NFL free agent, but it’s clear his time in Detroit has made him a believer as it relates to Stafford’s obvious talents.
Matthew Stafford Rated Top 10 NFL QB
Even though there is a measure of disrespect here, the league opinion of Stafford is changing a bit. The Lions quarterback, often overlooked, is getting more than his fair share of hype this offseason and most recently, Stafford was named to another prestigious list. NFL executives were polled for an ESPN piece revealing the top 10 quarterbacks in 2020. Stafford made the cut in the No. 10 position for this coming season.
We're just gonna leave this here.
Have at it. pic.twitter.com/Spt3NO4Cdb
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) July 8, 2020
Stafford isn’t within the top 5, but it’s a mild surprise to see him rising on such lists anyhow. Typically, Stafford is a middle of the pack quarterback in the mind of most across the league. This list only points to the fact that Stafford is on the rise in several circles, and it could be due to the expectation that he will have a great season this year.
That’s probably what LaFleur expects to happen as well, even if he would prefer it didn’t happen against his team this weekend.