That was not to be, and Caldwell’s time expired in Detroit after the 2017 year. Stafford lasted a few more seasons before it was recently revealed he would be moving on to the Los Angeles Rams. It’s been no secret that Caldwell thinks the world of Stafford and will laud his talents to anyone who will listen.
In a recent piece at Deadspin.com, writer Chuck Modiano spoke with Caldwell about Stafford and his former team’s move to trade him. Specifically, Caldwell was asked about what type of quarterback the Rams would be getting. As he explained, it’s more than just one thing which sets Stafford apart, it’s a variety of traits which define him and make him a successful player.
As he said in the piece:
“When asked by Deadspin to share his thoughts on Stafford, Caldwell praised Stafford’s “mental and physical toughness,” “intellectual prowess,” and described Stafford’s character and leadership as much as his abilities.
“Matthew is accountable in every way and displays extreme ownership, accepting responsibility for his mistakes and deflects credit to his teammates and coaches in victory. He has an extremely strong arm, underestimated mobility and he can deliver the ball accurately with velocity or touch from various platforms and angles,” said Caldwell.
Matthew is extremely bright and he can adapt to any system or style of offense,” says Caldwell. “He has demonstrated [that] while in Detroit under multiple offensive coordinators and head coaches.
“He will be able to do whatever Coach McVay requires. But Matthew is very self-aware and not shy about expressing the various concepts that fit his eye or accentuates his skill set. They will love him in L.A.”
Stafford adapted to various offenses with the Lions through the years and will have to do that again in Los Angeles while adapting to a new city. It’s a challenge unlike he has ever faced before, but Caldwell clearly believes he is the type of person and player that can rise to the occasion in a big way in his new surroundings.
Jim Caldwell’s Career With Lions
Caldwell wasn’t the best coach the Lions ever had historically, but he was the best in recent history statistically. Caldwell was famously 36-28 with the Lions which included 2 playoff births. Though Caldwell was 0-2 in the playoffs, at the very least he made the tournament which is more than Matt Patricia can currently say for his tenure, which started in 2018. As a whole, Caldwell is 62-50 as a head coach and has a pair of Super Bowl titles from his time as a position coach and coordinator.
During Caldwell’s time in Detroit, players loved him and continue to defend him for his work to this day. He built a pretty strong bond with the roster that some could argue was never captured under Matt Patricia at all during his tenure with the team.
Matthew Stafford’s Paradoxical Career
The quarterback is 33 years old in early 2021, and has struggled to win big in Detroit for the last decade since he was drafted. The situation is a paradox, because Stafford has been one of the most stable quarterbacks the Lions have had in decades as well. Knowing this, change can be tough, but the Lions might have to start thinking bold if they want to get their franchise over the hump. Stafford’s trade value will only decline in the next few seasons. Exciting young quarterbacks are coming into the league at a fast clip and have seemingly turned around franchises in Arizona, Buffalo, Kansas City, Baltimore, Miami and Los Angeles just to name a few spots. The Lions could need to get in on this in order to give their team a shot at keeping up moving forward. With Jared Goff, the hope is they have a guy to build around. If not, he can serve as an easy bridge for the team.
No matter how good things are in the league, players always have a shelf life, and Detroit was clearly approaching theirs with Stafford. Now that he’s on the move, he gets a chance to show his talent elsewhere.
According to Caldwell, he is going to do just that when all is said and done with the Rams.
READ NEXT: Analyst Makes Bold Prediction for Jared Goff