On Wednesday evening, Detroit Lions Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford chatted with the LA media about his upcoming reunion with his former team. In typical Stafford fashion, he had nothing bad to say about the Lions, only reiterating that he loved his time there, and won’t compare his current career in Los Angeles to it.
When asked about how his experience in Detroit will help him prepare for this week, he admitted that it may help a little, but the Lions’ huge overhaul in personnel may limit that advantage.
“Am I going to know some of the faces on the other side of the ball better than some people? Yeah,” Stafford said. “There’s a bunch of turnover, as well. There’s a bunch of people out there that I don’t know that are on the Lions now.”
However, the secondary Stafford will face on Sunday features three starters who are familiar faces: cornerback Amani Oruwariye and safeties Tracy Walker and Will Harris. Stafford said he has come away impressed with how improved those three players are on film compared to when he practiced against them on a daily basis.
“A lot of those guys were young players and are continuing to develop and get better. I watched the tape, and really that’s probably the biggest thing I see is, ‘Man, this guy was here and now he’s playing at this level. He’s playing really well,’” Stafford said. “I think of Amani on the outside. Used to practice against him all of the time, and you could see that potential in there, and now you see him on Sundays doing it for real and playing great. It’s fun to see that. The same with Tracy, same with Will Harris, some of those guys that I’ve practiced against a lot, and to watch them elevate their game and continue to progress and get better and better is fun for me to see.”
Despite the perceived improvement from those players, the Lions pass defense has struggled through the first six weeks of the season. The Lions currently rank last in passer rating allowed (113.8) and yards per attempt allowed (9.8), but, to be fair, they ranked dead last in both of those categories last year, as well.
Unfortunately for Detroit, the Rams have arguably the best passing offense in the NFL right now. They rank fourth in passer rating (113.4), first in yards per attempt (9.1) and second in DVOA.
Most Lions fans have taken notice of Stafford’s impressive jump this season in Los Angeles, and many continue to root for him. Stafford said on Wednesday night, that support from Lions fans speaks to the character of Detroiters.
“I appreciate that very much. I could see how it would be very easy for people to feel the other way. For people to take some happiness in any kind of success that any former player is having away from their building is really just a testament to them, as well. That’s the kind of people they are in Detroit. Great people, both in the organization and the city itself.
“I really did enjoy my time. I had great relationships built and maybe that has something to do with it, but I think it’s more of a testament not to me, but to the people of Detroit. That they can cheer an ex-player as much as I guess they have for me.”