“Elite” is an elusive term when it comes to judging NFL quarterbacks. Nobody really seems to have a strict definition for it, but everyone certainly has an opinion on who is and who isn’t elite.
“You know, Matthew Stafford, I think he’s an elite quarterback,” LaFleur said via teleconference. “He’s a natural thrower, he’s extremely accurate. I haven’t really gone against him too many times on teams that I’ve been on, but we all watch the same tape and I’ve always thought he was an elite quarterback.”
Through four games, Stafford is off to a fairly hot start. His 102.6 passer rating is the best of his career through four games and currently ranks him eighth in the NFL. Since 2016, his passer rating of 94.8 ranks him 14th in the NFL (minimum 20 starts).
So how does LaFleur define an “elite quarterback?”
“Somebody that, when he’s on your team, you’re confident that you have a chance each and every week to go in and win the football game.”
Though Matthew Stafford’s overall record as a quarterback is just 68-76-1, since 2014, the Lions have gone 44-39-1 with him behind center.
While those aren’t exactly gaudy win numbers, they do speak to Stafford’s ability to make the team competitive, even when the rest of the roster doesn’t look all that competitive.
Still, Stafford’s statistics only put him just inside the top 10, at best. So how many “elite” quarterbacks are currently in the NFL?
“I don’t know, to be honest with you,” LaFleur said. “I know he’s one of them, though.”