Watching Matthew Stafford develop over the past year and a half or so has been amazing. In that time, the Lions signal-caller has emerged as one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL and it does not seem like he’s finished. This past season, he led the Lions to a playoff berth, despite trailing in the fourth quarter in almost every game they played. It was the first time the Lions had been to the playoffs since finishing 11-5 in 2014 when they were eliminated in the first round by the Dallas Cowboys.
The 2014 Lions were led by a ferocious defense which ended the regular season ranked No. 3 in the NFL in points allowed and No. 2 total yards allowed. Unfortunately, the offense, which was led by Stafford, did not follow suit scoring only 20.1 points per game, good for No. 22 in the league.
One player on that Lions defense was safety James Ihedigbo, who spoke to the media on Monday about watching Stafford grow as a quarterback over the last two seasons. Ihedigbo even gave his thoughts on how he thinks the Lions would have done in 2014 had Stafford played at the level he played this season.
“The way he played this year, if he played like that in 2014, we would probably be playing in (the Super Bowl),” Ihedigbo said. “I think his maturity — being married, having kids, all that good stuff that you do — I think he’s showing his maturity as a player. “
Ihedigbo, who left Detroit last offseason after his contract wasn’t renewed, has maintained a relationship with a number of players on the roster. From afar, he’s been impressed with the way Stafford has filled the leadership void and feels we still haven’t seen the quarterback’s best years.
“Being the true alpha of that team and everyone following his lead was great for him,” Ihedigbo said. “Next year he’s going to be even more lights out. I think he’s going to get better and better and the best has yet to be seen with that guy.”
To read the rest of this article by Justin Rogers of The Detroit News, including to see what Ihedigbo had to say about what it as like to play on a broken leg while a member of the Buffalo Bills, please click below.