The tradition of hyping up your opponent has taken on a new meaning around the NFL world this season. Just ask New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick.
It might not be as ridiculous, but Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur had some eye-opening comments about Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford ahead of their game Monday night.
“Matthew Stafford, I think he’s an elite quarterback,” the first-year Packers head coach said Thursday, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “He’s a natural thrower. He’s extremely accurate and I’ve always — 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 he is just, I’ve always thought he is an elite quarterback.”
No one will mistake Stafford for Aaron Rodgers thus far in his career. Elite is a term thrown around too often. It’s also something that has not defined Stafford since Detroit made him the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft.
Elite is usually a term reserved for those who play football deep into January on a consistent basis. Thus far in his 10-plus seasons in the NFL, Stafford has earned three playoffs appearance and has yet to win a postseason game.
Even then, the Pro Bowler is in the midst of a career season. He has Detroit at 2-1-1 coming out of its bye and is on pace for north of 4,400 yards with 36 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Those are “elite” numbers, something Rodgers can’t hang his hat on thus far this season.