Prior to being traded to the Los Angeles Rams, Matthew Stafford spent parts of 12 seasons as the Detroit Lions’ starting quarterback. The former first overall draft pick led the franchise to only three playoff appearances but did put up big numbers, particularly with Calvin Johnson as his No. 1 target.
With Stafford under center, Johnson twice led the NFL in receiving yards and eclipsed the 1,000 mark seven times. When he suddenly retired after the 2015 season, Stafford was left without an elite pass-catcher.
That changed when Stafford joined the Rams last season. He quickly developed chemistry with Cooper Kupp, and it led to historic success as the wide receiver became just the fourth player since the merger to win the receiving triple crown.
During an appearance on “Straight Off The Press” with teammate Jalen Ramsey, Stafford picked Kupp over Johnson as the best wide receiver he has played with:
Stafford: “That’s a really tough question. I would say, out of the box, you open up a toy out of the box, CJ is what you’re looking for. 6-foot-5, 240, 4.3, jump out the gym. All of that. Unbelievable player, Hall of Famer, all that. Cooper, not the same out-of-the-box player, but I have unbelievable chemistry with him and I spend so much time with him, we work so hard together on trying to get this thing going in the right direction. As far as best I’ve ever played with, they’re too different to me. They’re too different. I can’t say either way. I know that both are wildly different players, but I don’t know man, I love playing with both of them. Cooper, won a Super Bowl with that dude, had some unbelievable moments in the playoffs with that guy. Just an unbelievable teammate of mine and a great player.”
Ramsey: “We’re gonna go with Cooper then.”
Stafford: “Yeah, we’ll go with Cooper. We’ll go with Cooper.”
As Stafford notes, Johnson and Kupp couldn’t be more different in terms of their play style and body type, but both put up monster numbers with him at quarterback.
And while Johnson is arguably the more dominant player because of his size, Kupp has the advantage in Super Bowl titles. The 29-year-old hauled in eight passes for 92 yards and two touchdowns in the Rams’ 23-20 win over the Cincinnati Bengals en route to Super Bowl LVI MVP honors.