Matthew Stafford was an MVP candidate, and the Lions were NFC North leaders until the quarterback dislocated the joint and tore ligaments in the middle finger of his throwing hand late last season. Yet, Stafford has the same MVP odds for the 2017 season as Sam Bradford.
You can argue Stafford is underrated considering he reached 30,000 passing yards faster than any quarterback in league history. But to earn respect, he’ll likely first have to win a playoff game. He’s 0-3 in the postseason, including two blowouts.
For now, Stafford’s biggest supporter remains Lions coach Jim Caldwell, who believes the nine-year veteran is “on the rise.”
“Even prior to my coming [to Detroit], you could certainly see the way in which he’s played year after year after year,” Caldwell said, via Clark Judge on the Talk of Fame Network. “He’s been pretty consistent in terms of generating yardage for his team.
“When we got here we found out some other things about him that you just didn’t see on film: His toughness, his intelligence, his desire. And all of those things, I think, without question rub off on his teammates. He’s also unflappable in very, very tight situations, and he’s improving. That’s the other thing I think you find with guys at that position in this league: When they get to around their fifth, sixth, seventh year, there’s still a climb; there’s still an ascension. You can see the direction in which they’re going. Stats don’t always tell the story, but I think when you couple that with wins it does. And Matthew certainly is on the rise.”
Stafford has a 27-21 record the past three years, with 15 fourth-quarter comebacks, while throwing for 4,200 yards or more in each season.