Matthew Stafford: ‘I’ve always wanted to play in those big games’

by Blaine Grisak
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The Los Angeles Rams made headlines to start the offseason when they shocked the NFL world and traded for quarterback Matthew Stafford. After having the No. 1 defense and getting knocked out in the Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs, the Rams are looking to make a big run at a Super Bowl title in 2021.

Since the trade occurred, we’ve heard from Goff multiple times. The former Rams quarterback talked with Mike Silver immediately after the trade and then sat down with the LA Times’ Sam Farmer a little while later.

However, while Goff had his thoughts on the trade out in the media, nobody had heard yet from the other quarterback involved in the trade – Matthew Stafford. The now current Rams quarterback, Stafford interviewed with Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press. Here are a couple quotes from the article:

Why did Matthew Stafford want a trade?

The big games in Detroit were far and few between for Matthew Stafford. In the three playoff games with Stafford under center, the Lions averaged less than 57 yards per game on the ground. The defense also allowed more than 442.7 yards per game. Since 1940, NFL teams have a 0.105 W-L% when they rush between 47-67 yards and allow between 412-472 yards in a playoff game.

“I’ve always wanted to play in those big games. I feel like I will excel in those situations. I wanted to shoot my shot.”

The Rams wanted Stafford to help the team get over the hump and it sounds like Stafford wants to be apart of it and play in those types of games.

How did the Matthew Stafford trade go down?

Like everyone else, Stafford thought Indianapolis or San Francisco were going to be his new team in 2021. While he had hope for the Rams, also like everyone else, he wasn’t sure how they were going to be able to pull it off. Thankfully, the Rams found a general manager who liked Jared Goff and was willing to take on his contract.

“I just didn’t know how they would ever be able to (pull it off.). You know, I’m not a salary cap guru. It kind of got to a point where I’m like, OK, I can’t sit there and go crazy. I just tried to let it happen. And L.A. aggressively jumped into it.”

Albom writes about how apparently Andrew Whitworth was at the resort and Cabo and joked with Stafford that the Rams were going to “make a run at him.” Well, they did!

Matthew Stafford excited for a new start

With the Detroit Lions, Matthew Stafford had a 100 yard rusher 11 times in his 12 year career and rarely had a defense to compliment his output on offense. Last season, the Lions won five games and four of those wins came on game-winning drives led by Stafford.

“In my mind, I felt like I was going to be able to help us go win six, seven, eight games, because I wasn’t gonna let us lose more than that, you know?

This goes with what everyone says about Stafford. He’s the ultimate competitor. He rarely, if ever, had the supporting cast to compliment his elite play at the quarterback position.

“Obviously, we were excited … I was excited about their roster and their coaching staff and what they can bring to the table and their recent success.”

Over the last four years under Sean McVay, the Rams have never won less than nine games and have made the playoffs in three out of the last four seasons. In those same four years, the Lions never had a team that won more than nine game and Stafford has been to the playoffs only three times in his entire career.

Matthew Stafford’s toughness

Everyone has seen the video of Stafford his rookie season throwing the game winning touchdown pass against the Cleveland Browns with a separated left shoulder. Not that Jared Goff wasn’t tough, because he was, but the Rams are also getting that in Stafford.

“I mean, this past year was bad. I had the partially torn UCL in my right thumb, I tore my UCL on my left elbow on the second to last play of the Houston game that nobody knew about, trying to stiff arm a guy. That’s why I started wearing a sleeve on my left arm because I had all sorts of tape underneath it, just to hold it in place. I broke my cartilage on my eighth rib in Green Bay. I also tore something (in the back of) my left knee. And then I had a subtalar, right ankle sprain.”

Stafford going to play at a high level and battle it out with his teammates every single week. The Rams are going to need to protect Stafford so that he can stay healthy, but he’s not someone that’s going to sit out just because he feels a little pain. That’s what you want from a franchise quarterback.


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