Fresh off making an appearance on the NFL’s Top 100 players of the 2021 season, Matthew Stafford’s game was stacked up against the best signal callers in the sport.
Dubbed the “Quarterback Council” by ESPN, NFL analysts across the league were asked to rank their top-10 quarterbacks in 12 distinctive categories ranging from accuracy to field vision. LA’s QB1 finished in the top-10 in eight of the 12 categories. These included: arm strength (#5), accuracy (#6), touch (#6), mechanics (#5), field vision (#7), compete level (#6), toughness (#4) and pocket presence (#8).
Stafford was snubbed in two categories, most-notably being decision-making with the football which I can understand.
For one, he tied for the league-lead in interceptions with 17. During last season’s three-game losing streak, Stafford threw five interceptions, three of those being returned for touchdowns. The LA star also had six multi-interception games throughout the season including the postseason, the worst of which being a trio of picks thrown in a debacle against the Vikings. It was a miracle the Rams even won that one.
In his career, Stafford has had streaks of turnover-prone play which dampened his otherwise consistent overall body of work. Second-reaction ability was the other category the Rams QB was snubbed in. This is where a quarterback makes off-platform passes from different arm angles and body positions, often while on the move. Aaron Schatz and Derrik Klassen both voted for Stafford atop this list and this was their reasoning:
“The caveat here is that Matthew Stafford too often puts himself in position to throw off-platform for no real reason, and you get a few clunkers. But more often than not, he can deliver from awkward platforms, both in and out of the pocket. Stafford plays with great core strength and a flexible throwing motion that allow him to get the most out of his arm, no matter the predicament.” - Schatz and Klassen via ESPN
While again, I get some of the critiques of this part of Matthew’s game, I believe most of the analysts forgot about this gem:
I think about this Matthew Stafford throw a lot pic.twitter.com/eAYqYE8hNO— Blake Garman (@FrostedBlakes34) August 22, 2022
This was an interesting and expansive exercise from ESPN which at least gives me hope that Matthew Stafford can climb these rankings in his second season with Los Angeles. There’s always room for improvement and LA’s QB1 is up to the task!