For 12 seasons, Matthew Stafford gave his all as quarterback of the Detroit Lions but, unfortunately, he never quite had the team around him to even sniff a Super Bowl.
Now, Stafford will get a new start as he has been traded to the Los Angeles Rams, where he will team up with Sean McVay as they embark on a journey that many believe will end with a championship.
While with the Lions, one of the biggest knocks on Stafford was his leadership abilities.
On Monday, one of Stafford’s former teammates T.J. Lang joined the Stoney and Jansen with Heather show and he said one of Stafford’s weaknesses was that he was not the “rah-rah guy and getting on guys’ ass when he needed to” type of leader.
“As far as Detroit, he was the leader in that locker room. And not trying to say anything negative, it was pretty much all, lead by example,” Lang told the Stoney & Jansen Show Monday. “He wasn’t necessarily the rah-rah guy and getting on guys’ ass when he needed to during the week in practice or in games. Once the games come around I think it was one of his weaknesses, where he just needed a little bit more fire at times. Not from him personally, but for the rest of the team, making the rest of the team better and pulling those guys up.”
Lang added that he believes Stafford was “mentally and physically drained” during the last two years under Matt Patricia.
“His last couple years in Detroit, I think he was just so mentally and physically drained, and I don’t hold that against him because the last regime was really tough,” said Lang.
With Stafford out of the picture, Lang said that it is time for some of the younger guys on the team to step up and take a leadership role as the Lions go through a rebuild.
“I think this team is going to miss him, I do, because he was here for so long and he was always that older guy that you went to if you had any problems or issues or anything like that,” said Lang. “But when you’re starting fresh the way they’re going to, there’s going to be a lot of new pieces in that locker room, I think it was best for them to move on from him and for him to move on from this team. Because it’s a new era almost, where, ‘Hey, we need the younger guys to step up now. Frank Ragnow, Taylor Decker, you guys are the older guys. We need you to show the young guys how we want to rebuild things.’ I don’t think Matthew Stafford, going into year 13, really wanted to bear the brunt of that responsibility.”
Lang said that players and fans loved Stafford because they knew he would always leave it all on the field.
“The one thing that his teammates and I think this city loved about him, you knew he was going to leave it all on the field every single time he played,” said Lang. “He played through so many injuries in just the two years that I was with him that he’s a quarterback that guys want to play for. And that’s a contagious characteristic to have, to just be one of those tough, hard-nosed dudes, especially at the quarterback position.”