Two weeks ago, San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan spoke about his desire to pursue Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford and how frustrated he was that he landed with a divisional rival.
But at least one 49ers player does not feel the same way as his coach.
Safety Jimmie Ward does not believe Stafford will be much of a difference-maker in the NFC West.
“I like Stafford, but they still will have the same players that he’ll be throwing the ball to,” Ward told Grant Cohn of SI.com (h/t CBS Sports). “He’s the same quarterback who was on the Detroit Lions and they still didn’t go to the playoffs, and they had Megatron [Calvin Johnson].
“What was the problem over there in Detroit? Are you going to blame the city? What was the problem? Was it the money? If the city didn’t have enough money to bring players over there, why even have an NFL team? That’s the big question mark.”
In 12 seasons with the Lions, Stafford had a career record of 74-90-1 and made the postseason just three times — failing to make it out of the first round in each of them.
The Lions traded Stafford this offseason to the Rams in exchange for Jared Goff, whom Ward seems to be more impressed by due to his postseason record.
“They went and traded Jared Goff, who went to the playoffs several times and went to the Super Bowl,” Ward said. “Yeah, he lost. He went to the Super Bowl, though. I’ve yet to see that with Matt Stafford. And I’m saying, he’s still great. I believe he’s a top 10 quarterback, maybe top 5. I don’t know. We’ll see. I’m just going off of what I see. And I see Jared Goff got those boys to the Super Bowl.”
Yet, many believe Goff benefitted from Sean McVay’s offensive scheme and if Stafford is indeed a more talented quarterback, ideally the Rams should improve with him under center.
At the very least, Ward may have provided some bulletin board material for Stafford and the Rams as well for when they play the 49ers this year.
The two teams will not meet until Week 10 and they will play again in Week 18 for the final game of the season, which could potentially have the division on the line.