The jury is out on Matt Stafford, aside from 2011 – Stafford has been mediocre at best for the Detroit Lions. I’m not saying Stafford is mediocre he’s played mediocre and to be completely honest he’s never had a complete offense around him, if it wasn’t his offensive line it was his receivers or his running game.
Stafford isn’t elite, by no means would I compare him to Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning or Drew Brees. It comes with the position to be heavily criticized and compared to elite quarterbacks. It’s not that easy, elite quarterbacks don’t grow on trees.
Matt Stafford took over a rebuilding Lions team that clearly wasn’t ready to win, yes he had Calvin Johnson however looking at teams that have built success on their QB’s it starts with a good offensive line, good WR’s and good run game. Stafford had one of those 3 in 2014.
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The thought you can’t win with Stafford or any QB that isn’t elite is truly off-base. I do believe Stafford can win a Championship, but this has to be a complete team or Stafford won’t win. I don’t believe in the NFL fan logic every loss is on the QB. I don’t. I think it’s moronic to blame a loss on one person.
Stafford had the highest sack percentage of his career in 2014 with 7.0%, mirroring the 2009 season (6.0%) where he lasted 10 games due to injury do I blame Stafford for that obviously not, In 2014 he was allowed 2.3 seconds in the pocket the lowest of any QB since David Carr in 2002 with Houston.
I am inclined to believe that in year two Stafford will be much better in the new offense that, OC Joe Lombardi “Scaled back on”
Completion percentage: 60.3 – 25th in NFL
Yards: 4,257 – 9th in NFL
Attempts: 602 – 5th in NFL
Completions: 363 – 11th in NFL
Yards per attempt: 7.07 – 19th in NFL
Touchdowns: 22 – 14th in NFL
Interceptions: 12 – 11th in NFL
Yards Per game: 262 – 12th in NFL
Sacks: 45 – 4th in NFL
Stafford Incompletion by type:
Bad throw: 119 – 1st in NFL (should be noted behind him was Manning, Brady and Big Ben)
Hit at line: 10 – 12th in NFL
Defensed: 48 – 12th in NFL
Drops: 24 – 11th in NFL
Yards Per Play: 5.22 -21st in NFL
Yards Per Play explained by Sporting Chart – Generally the more yards per play, the more potent a team is on offense. On a game-by-game basis this statistic is not overly useful, but over the course of a season and hundreds of plays it can be a very telling statistic for offensive success in moving the football.
Team Rushing Per Attempt: 3.60 – 28th in NFL
Drop percentage: 4.1 – 21st in NFL
Points Per game: 20.1 – 22nd in NFL
Rushing Touchdowns: 11 – 17th in NFL
Rushing Yards Per game: 88.9 – 28th in NFL
Who lies at blame for the Lions inept offense?
Joe Lombardi – Lombardi’s offensive play calling was vanilla at best and conservative however he didn’t have much to work with and Lombardi admitted to Dave Birkett of the Free Press he tried to make up for a very average offensive line.
Offensive line – Offensive line was awful this year, they couldn’t stay healthy and the regression of Dom Raiola, Rob Sims completely killed the Lions season before it started. In the NFL the key to a winning team starts on the offensive line and Detroit needs to address the offensive line this offseason.
Tight End play – Eric Ebron was selected 10th overall and had a below average year, not to mention the tight end staff couldn’t stay healthy with Brandon Pettigrew and Fauria constantly on the injury reports. The Lions offense revolves around the tight ends and like Saints QB Drew Brees said who played in the same offense “It’s difficult to get things going when your TE’s aren’t playing to their potential”
Running Game – The Lions running game was horrible they were basically bottom feeders for the whole year and in the NFL you can’t expect to win by not running the ball only two teams made the playoffs rushing in the bottom 10 – Arizona and Detroit both first round exits.
Matt Stafford – The Offense revolves around Stafford, yes I can’t expect Stafford to be good or at his best when he has a bad offensive line, awful running game and non-existent tight ends.
Players that should be on Lions draft board:
RB – Todd Gurley, Melvin Gordon, Duke Johnson and Tevin Coleman
WR – Stefan Diggs, Tony Lippett, Tyler Lockett and Ty Montgomery
TE – Nick O’Leary, Jeff Heuerman and Tyler Kroft
OT – Andrus Peat, La’el Collins, Cameron Erving, Rob Havenstein and TJ Clemmings
G – Laken Thomlinson, Tre Jackson and Arie Kouandjio
The thought that Stafford is solely the reason for the Lions bad offensive year is simply missing the bar, he wasn’t great by no means however to me the Lions inept offense wasn’t solely on Stafford.
Can Stafford be better? I say yes, it may be an unpopular opinion however I don’t think after the first year in a new system I can straight up say it was all Stafford. I can’t logically do it.
I can’t logically say that Stafford can never win and how he did with past Lions teams proves he’s not worthy of my opinion, I firmly believe Stafford takes off in year two of the new offense and if he doesn’t, there’s nothing to defend.
Until then, I think Stafford can bring a Super Bowl to Detroit, but it’s not just on Matt Stafford it’s going to be on how Martin Mayhew thinks the team needs to look and how he drafts will impact Stafford for better or for worse.