49ers’ Veteran Defender Slams Matthew Stafford, Lauds Jared Goff

Jimmie Ward

Getty Jimmie Ward reacts to a play against the Saints during the 2020 season.

The Detroit Lions made the NFL trade of the offseason this year when they shipped off Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for Jared Goff and a draft pick haul.

As a result of such a high-profile move, nearly everyone has an opinion on how the deal might work out for all parties involved. Most have been on the positive side for the Rams and the questionable side for the Lions, but one NFL player isn’t so sure it’s so easy to proclaim that the case.

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As SI.com’s Grant Cohn pointed out in a piece, San Francisco 49ers’ safety Jimmie Ward was asked in a recent question and answer session online about the trade, Stafford and Goff and he provided a very intriguing answer. As he said, Stafford didn’t do much in Detroit in spite of the resources he had, while Goff managed to take the Rams to the Super Bowl, which cannot be overlooked.

Here’s what Ward said in the interview as described by Cohn:

“I like Stafford, but they still will have the same players that he’ll be throwing the ball to. He’s the same quarterback who was on the Detroit Lions and they still didn’t go to the playoffs, and they had Megatron (Calvin Johnson). What was the problem over there in Detroit? Are you going to blame the city? What was the problem? Was it the money? If they city didn’t have enough money to bring players over there, why even have an NFL team? That’s a big question mark.

“They went and traded Jared Goff, who went to the playoffs several times and went to the Super Bowl. Yeah, he lost. He went to the Super Bowl, though. I’ve yet to see that with Matt Stafford. And I’m saying, he’s still great. I believe he’s a top 10 quarterback, maybe top 5. I don’t know. We’ll see. I’m just going off of what I see. And I see Jared Goff got those boys to the Super Bowl.”

Most have been content to throw Goff under the bus while hyping Stafford at every turn this offseason, so it’s interesting to hear Ward’s take on the matter. As he shows, not everyone is so sure that the Lions are doomed to fail with Goff while the Rams are simply set up for easy success fast with Stafford.

It might be an unpopular opinion outside Detroit, but it’s no less true heading into a new season.

Goff Being Underrated for 2021 Season

Ward’s take isn’t a common one in the court of public opinion. Many have slammed Goff and called him a regressing quarterback even in spite of the good things he has done in his career. Goff’s image has been tarnished in a big way in the court of public opinion over the last few years so much so that folks were mocking his trade to Detroit and the fact that the Lions would pick him up.

Even such, Goff has an intriguing 6-5 record in the playoffs and has won an NFC title game as well as made a Super Bowl. Those stats would qualify him to be one of the best quarterbacks in history with the Lions, which shows how low the bar is for Goff in Detroit. If he is able to come in and confidently lead the team which sounds like the case early on, there will be the chance for Goff to change the narrative in a big way.

Clearly, some in the league might not be shocked if Goff is able to get that done due to what he has already accomplished in his career.

49ers Rookie Started Trash Talk With Lions

Ward’s comments might serve as a bit of an olive branch for the Lions and 49ers given where the sides have been recently. Following the release of the schedule, San Francisco rookie cornerback, Michigan native and former Michigan Football defender Ambry Thomas was asked about his first game in the pros being at Ford Field. As he said, he wants to go and put the beatdown on his local team “real bad” in the first game.

Maybe someone had better tell Thomas that this is the NFL and no longer college, regardless, it will be a chance for the Lions to prove they can step up and it’s possible that this quote could go on the bulletin board for the team most of the summer leading into the first game on September 12.

The Lions shouldn’t need any extra motivation for their home opener, but in case they did, Thomas has already provided it. Even though that’s the case, it’s clear there is a mutual respect between Goff and some of the 49ers veterans like Ward.

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