Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay said quarterback Matthew Stafford has exceeded expectations since being acquired in a blockbuster offseason trade.
"He has been better than I thought, and I thought he was going to be really good," McVay told reporters. "I've been really impressed with his body of work and his resume over the course of his career. I think he's doing a great job. I think the best players elevate those around them. I think guys are playing better around him."
Stafford and the Rams (5-1) face off with his former team, the Detroit Lions (0-6), in Week 7 on Sunday.
Los Angeles traded fellow quarterback Jared Goff, a 2021 third-round pick and its first-round selections in 2022 and 2023 to Detroit for Stafford. It was an all-in move that showed the Rams believe they're within striking distance of a Super Bowl title.
While there was no doubt the shift from Goff to Stafford represented an upgrade for the L.A. offense, the question was whether the jump was big enough to put the team among the NFL's elite. So far it appears the answer is a resounding yes.
Stafford, a 33-year-old University of Georgia product, has completed 69.5 percent of his throws for 1,838 yards with 16 touchdowns and four interceptions through six games. He leads the league in ESPN's Total QBR (74.9) and owns a strong 77.5 overall grade from Pro Football Focus.
In addition, his passer rating stands at 116.6 and he's averaged 9.2 yards per attempt. Goff's passer rating across five years with the Rams was 91.5 and his YPA was 7.5.
Stafford has remained mostly tight-lipped about this weekend's matchup with the Lions, saying it'll be "just another football game once the ball is snapped."
"In pregame, am I going to be saying 'hey' to some old teammates and friends, the Ford family, hopefully, if they make the trip? Absolutely," Stafford told reporters Sunday. "I've got nothing but great relationships with people over there, so have a lot of respect for the organization, the team, the ownership."
Goff hasn't performed nearly as well following the trade, albeit with less talent around him on the Detroit roster. He's tallied seven touchdowns and four interceptions, and his Total QBR (33.0) ranks 29th.
It's still a trade that could work out for both sides since the Lions were able to stockpile extra early-round picks for their rebuild, and it's no guarantee Stafford would have stayed with the organization beyond 2022, when his five-year, $135 million contract concludes.
Yet, the early returns suggest McVay and the Rams have finally found their franchise quarterback, and that's the most valuable commodity in the NFL when it comes to chasing a championship.