Matthew Stafford is business as usual this week as he prepares to take on his former team, the Detroit Lions (0-6). But for one of his current teammates, it's not that simple.
Sunday's game is also a reunion between Lions quarterback Jared Goff and the Los Angeles Rams (5-1), who selected the QB first overall in the 2016 NFL Draft but traded him (and a bundle of picks) to Detroit for Stafford this offseason -- less than two years after handing Goff a four-year, $134 million extension. Robert Woods, once one of Goff's favorite targets, has mixed emotions ahead of his former QB's return to L.A.
"Coming here was a team, like a big family," Woods told me this week about joining the Rams from the Buffalo Bills in 2017. "Where I came from, I've seen people in and out every two weeks, and then to come here and have stability at the quarterback position. ... Seeing [Goff] go was kind of like, I thought that was our dude.
"It reminded me just of the business of how the NFL is and how it goes. It's always: What have you done for me lately? That's just one of the things that's part of the business. We ended up getting Stafford, and he's a great quarterback. Both are talented QBs."
Woods, who spent four seasons with Goff as his quarterback, is having to adjust to a new man under center this season in Stafford. Through the first four weeks, Woods was targeted just 25 times with 15 receptions. In the past two weeks alone, he's been targeted 19 times with 14 receptions.
"We've been getting along well, communicating," Woods said of his relationship with Stafford. "I went to his daughter's birthday party. We share the same chefs and stuff like that, but we're constantly in here building and talking.
"Obviously, it's not four years like with Jared, but constantly building, picking his brain and still learning each other."
On Sunday inside SoFi Stadium, however, Woods will face off against his former quarterback, with whom he has a lot of history. For Woods, those four years, though memorable, are in the past.
"I talked to [Goff] last week. This week is game mode," Woods said. "I told him hopefully I can exchange jerseys with him. He was my quarterback, helped me get my first 1,000-yard and my second 1,000-yard seasons. Helped me a lot, expand my career."
Woods and Cooper Kupp have combined for 1,006 receiving yards this season, the most by any WR duo in the NFL. Woods ranks behind Kupp for second on the team with 353 receiving yards and three receiving touchdowns through six weeks.
Stafford has a higher passer rating so far as the Rams' quarterback (116.6) than Goff did over his four seasons playing under L.A. head coach Sean McVay (94.1).
"He's athletic, smart, and a great leader," Woods said of his new signal-caller. "He can play with his hands, feet, eyes now. He's really a true talent at the quarterback position, being able to be open and create mismatches with our talent, and McVay is able to crank his plays that help him utilize his arm and utilize our routes.
"Other than that, we're just out here playing catch, doing what we always do. I think our talent makes us be able to play comfortable out there."
Since being traded, Goff's passer rating has declined, while Stafford's has increased. And while Stafford is in the MVP conversation, Goff has yet to win a game in Detroit. In fact, Goff has yet to win a single game without McVay as his head coach (0-13).
"[Goff] always kept his confidence and is a true competitor," Woods said. "He always makes plays -- one of the elite quarterbacks when you look at his numbers -- and statistically he's up there with the best with his winning record (42-33). You just have to surround him with good guys and get some talent, and he can make those plays."
Donald has six sacks in three career games against the Lions. His two sacks per game against Detroit is the highest against any opponent in his career.
"That's one of those matchups that you look forward to," Woods said. "You talk about it at practice year after year, and then you finally get a chance like this.
"I know [Donald] is going to be chasing [Goff] around, coming for him all game and letting him know it, too."