Floyd, who has 29 career sacks in his five year career, only got one sack of Stafford in seven contests played against the Lions: During a November 11, 2018 34-22 home win.
Now, 377 defensive snaps against Detroit and one stop of Stafford later, Floyd was still technically going against Stafford during offense/defense drills during OTAs. Except this time, the 6-foot-5 linebacker has found a way to bury his NFC North rivalry with the quarterback and is energized about being on the same roster with him.
Floyd touched base on Stafford’s arrival to the Rams in a May 25 video conference with reporters. Floyd called him “a great competitor” and admits he’s glad that this time, Stafford won’t run a two-minute offense against a defense led by Floyd in the NFC North.
“You want to have those guys on your team. It sucks going against them,” Floyd said. “He’s going to use whatever advantage he can to score on a defense.”
The Game That Won Floyd’s Respect for Stafford
As a Bear, Floyd’s teams got the better end against Stafford and Detroit, going 5-2 in those contests. However, Floyd traced back to one game where he was immediately sold on Stafford’s toughness.
“I’ve always remembered that one video when he was hurt and he just came back into the game for the Detroit Lions and won the game for them. I just always remember that play and that showed me how much of a competitor he is,” Floyd said.
That game? Stafford’s rookie season against the Cleveland Browns on November 22, 2009. Down 37-31 with less than 10 seconds left, Stafford took a devastating hit that left his non-throwing shoulder in immense pain, the kind that had team trainers tending to him and the Lions attempting to go with backup Daunte Culpepper for one last end zone attempt. But Stafford said these words that eventually led to his legend in the Motor City:
“I can throw the ball, if you need me to throw the ball.”
Sure enough, with one good arm left, Stafford found Brandon Pettigrew for the game-winning 1-yard touchdown in the 38-37 thriller.
‘He’s a Natural Leader’
Stafford won’t officially throw his first pass with the L.A. Rams until September 12 at SoFi Stadium. And the first defense he’ll go against is, ironically, Floyd’s former team and Stafford’s old adversary the Bears.
Even though Stafford is yet to record any stats for the Rams, Floyd said the new QB is winning over him and the Rams with his leadership side.
“He’s a natural leader. You can tell guys are buying in to what he’s doing already,” Floyd said. “He’s been himself. He’s been going out and doing his job. He’s throwing the ball, slinging the ball with great accuracy. He’s being a pro.”
Gone are the days of Floyd adding to his sack totals on Sundays by trying to come after Stafford, as the signal-caller is the latest defector from the NFC North to settle for Southern California. The ex-Bear is welcoming aligning himself with the ex-Lion.
“I’m looking forward to going out there and doing battle with him this year,” Floyd said.