The Detroit Lions have gone through a busy offseason already to this point in time, and the biggest change will come at the quarterback position moving forward.
Matthew Stafford is moving on, while Jared Goff is coming to the team. Even such, with the change not yet fresh, some Lions players are choosing to look back at the Stafford era as well as explain their feeling for their former quarterback.
Obviously, Stafford was a well-respected player for the Lions, something which was emphasized plenty by his former teammates. T.J. Hockenson was the latest to provide and interesting take on what the quarterback meant to his old team, and admitted everyone will be pulling for him to win it all once he gets there.
Hockenson was interviewed on Bussin’ With the Boys where he was asked about a variety of different topics, but his most interesting answers revolved around Stafford.
Obviously, Stafford meant a lot to the Lions, but is it bad form for a player on the team to all but admit everyone wants to see him win? When Stafford leaves the team, he will be the opposition and the Lions will be one of the other teams trying to stop the Rams from winning when all is said and done.
Nevertheless, these quotes show just how embraced Stafford was within the Lions locker room.
T.J. Hockenson Stats
While Hockenson may be thinking of rooting for Stafford, he’s got his own business to attend to in Detroit. There is simply no understating the importance of Hockenson to the Lions in the future moving forward in 2021 and beyond. The team hasn’t gotten much of anything from any of the other tight ends on their roster, and while he hasn’t had the most dramatic statistical impact thus far in his career, Hockenson has easily been one of the team’s top rookies in 2019 and 2020 and a player capable of impacting both the run and the passing games.
During the season last year, many fans were upset with Hockenson for not making a bigger impact on the game. He had only 367 yards and 2 touchdowns on the year which is not the statistical impact that many people expected from him as a top 10 selection for the team. 2020 was a major bounce back from that, though, and Hockenson put up 723 yards and 6 touchdowns.
Clearly, Hockenson is on the right track to being thought of as one of the best players in the league at his position if he can stay healthy and remain consistent.
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Matthew Stafford Earned His Shot at a Ring
The quarterback has turned 33 years old in early 2021, and has struggled to win big in Detroit for the last decade since he was drafted. The situation was 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 had to start thinking bold if they want to get their franchise over the hump. Stafford’s trade value would have only declined in the next few seasons, and he has earned a shot to move on. 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.
Stafford himself is going to a place where theoretically he has a great chance to win, and even his former teammates will be pulling for him to do so apparently.