I believe that today is the day the Lions decide on Matt Stafford. Today, Schwartz, Linehan, Scott Linehan, and QB coach Jeff Horton will put Stafford through his paces. John Niyo, and Nick Cotsonika have put up nice little pieces on it from two different angles.
They'll be testing him in every way they can, shaking him out of his comfort zone and seeing how he reacts. Testing not just how much mustard he can put on a pass, but if he can accurately place a ball on a reciever, lead a reciever, throw it only where his reciever can catch it. Touch, spiral, catchability. Fades, screens, outs, slants . . .
. . . all the stuff Stafford hasn't proven he can do. It is my belief that if Stafford can pass this test, that he can break out of his groove, be more than he's been, and show at least the tools to be a complete quarterback, he will be the first overall pick. However, it's also my belief that Stafford has shined mostly by doing what he does, which is groove the ball downfield on deep go routes and skinny posts. I think he's been rattled easily, or at the least has not been consistently calm and creative under pressure. I have not seen him, in any of his games, show the kind of finesse, capability and versatility that a franchise QB must have.
That all having been said, Scott Linehan knows exactly what he's doing with quarterbacks, and whoever he makes his starter of the future, he's going to be work hand-in-glove with. When Linehan was hired, Schwartz said this about the QB-OC relationship:
"I think that the quarterbacks need one voice -- they need the offensive coordinator's voice,'' Schwartz said. "We still may have a quarterback coach, but the quarterbacks coach is going to be responsible for fundamentals and drill work.
"The only voice to the quarterback is going to be the offensive coordinator."
I said in my last post that Mayhew wouldn't pull the trigger on Stafford unless Schwartz knew that Linehan was comfortable with him. Well, today is the day when Linehan finds out if he'll be comfortable with him. They'll run him throught the gauntlet and see if he comes out the other side. I guess we'll find out if he passed the test in late April . . .
Non-sequitur: I recommend you all read this week's Peter King's Monday Morning Quarterback. The last page has several great little nuggets on Schwartz, the Lions, the draft, etc., all very good stuff.