Matthew Stafford: Your Opinion is Irrelevant.

>> 11.09.2010

Matthew Stafford is the quarterback of the Detroit Lions.  He is guaranteed to receive forty million dollars to be the quarterback of the Detroit Lions.  He is a remarkably talented starting quarterback, in a league where starting quarterbacks determine the majority of a franchise’s success.  Many franchises try for years—if not decades—to get their hands on a quarterback like Matthew Stafford.  The Detroit Lions had waited longer than any other franchise to get their hands on a quarterback of this caliber.

Shaun Hill is the backup quarterback of the Detroit Lions.  Just a few weeks ago, many fans were calling for Hill to remain the starter even after Stafford was cleared to play.  Hill is a savvy veteran quarterback, who knows the Lions’ system.  The Lions have won with him at the helm this season.  He has a career 32/18 TD-INT ratio, 85.1 passer rating, and 11-11 record as a starter.  He is under contract through the 2011 season.

The Detroit Lions cannot, and therefore will not, acquire a quarterback who would be an immediate upgrade over Matthew Stafford or Shaun Hill for the 2010 season.  As above, good NFL quarterbacks are both rare and valuable.  Therefore, any quarterback who is not currently under contract in the NFL is not a good NFL quarterback.  Any quarterback brought in midseason will not understand the offense well enough, fast enough, to execute it better than Shaun Hill during any point in the season.

The Detroit Lions cannot, and therefore will not, acquire a quarterback whose long-term upside equals or surpasses Matthew Stafford’s in the forseeable future.  Again, such quarterbacks are vanishingly rare—and are available only by drafting at the top of the first round, or by trading astonishing amounts of value.  Even if the Lions had the #1 overall pick to spend on the best available quarterback in the draft, they could not afford to sink $160 million into two quarterbacks.  Any quarterback acquired in the second round or lower will be at a steep disadvantage to Stafford for 2011 and beyond—in terms of raw physical talent, physical maturity, understanding of the offense, and game experience.

These are the facts.  Whatever you want to make up on your own time is fine.  Whatever scenarios you play with in your head, that’s great.  Keep them there.  Do not waste all of our time, effort, and brain cells by calling up WDFN and telling Killer that you have this great idea where the Lions should sign Jeff George.

Jamarcus Russell is a Wookiee; your opinion is irrelevant.

Technorati Tags: detroit lions,matthew stafford,jamarcus russell


Jim,  November 9, 2010 at 11:01 AM  

Isn't your opinion irrelevant too?

Andrew,  November 9, 2010 at 11:07 AM  

The Lions should clone Suh and start Suh Two at FB with the sole responsibility of keeping Stafford upright.

This year has been the most brutal in the last 10, but there is a silver lining I hadn't considered until now.

If forced to choose between Stafford having a healthy 2010 or 2011, I'd go with 2011. Plus this year will force them to beef up his protection which can only be a good thing.

Anonymous,  November 9, 2010 at 11:14 AM  

I agree with lots here, but there is a point you missed that needs to be made.

NFL teams are consistently overhauling at nearly every position. The quarterback position is no different. Even if you have a Peyton Manning or a (90's) Brett Favre, you need to consistently pay attention to the back-end of that roster spot as well.

Drew Stanton is in Detroit because Matthew Stafford and Shaun Hill command an amazing amount of reps in camp as the former needed to play catchup and the latter needed to learn an offense. Stanton knows the offense and didn't need reps.

Now, in light of Stafford's injuries, perhaps it is time to use that 3rd QB spot as a developmental spot--continually using 5th/6th rounders as insurance and/or trade bait.

I'm not saying we WILL strike gold on a Tom Brady-type, but we could garner returns if we strike on a "Aaron Brooks" or a "Matt Hasselbeck."

Even supposing that Stafford is the Lions starting QB for the next 10 years, these injuries should change the way the roster is formulated.


Lionfan30+years,  November 9, 2010 at 11:15 AM  

I agree. Acting as though your opinion is the Gospel seems a little ELITIST on your part. Your blog is a Lions opinion site and that's your right, but to lecture fans on how they should think and state their opinion seems a little egotistical also.

Ty,  November 9, 2010 at 11:40 AM  

Jim, Lionfan30+years--

That's why I kept my opinion out of it. Everything above "these are the facts" are the facts. My blog isn't an "opinion site," necessarily--some of the most worthwhile stuff I've done has been nothing but slicing and dicing statistics.

Also, note that I don't tell anyone how to think--I explicitly said that if you want to hope the Lions go sign an unemployed quarterback, or draft Andrew Luck, to replace Matthew Stafford well then go ahead and hope that . . . just keep it to yourself.


Ty,  November 9, 2010 at 11:42 AM  


Yeah? But he was supposed to be healthy this year too. He has to learn to be smarter, protect himself better, and stop being so proud about when he's dinged up. Gutting it out after two aggravations of the shoulder just got him lost for the year--and the Lions still didn't beat the Jets.


Whoops!,  November 9, 2010 at 1:22 PM  

While the Lions waited 10 years for a QB they drafted:

Gosder ahead of Flaco and Henne
CJ ahead of Kolb
Sims ahead of Cutler
Mike Williams ahead of Rodgers, Campbell, and Orton. AND Orlovsky ahead of Anderson and Cassell
Roy ahead of Big Ben
Chuck ahead of Leftwich, Grossman, and Boller
Joey Ball-Boy ahead of Ramsey and Garrard
Backus ahead of Brees
McDougle ahead of Bulger.

Of course only Gosder and Backus are on the roster now. I'd be hice to have almost any of those QBs around at this point(well maybe not Grossman!)

Big Al Beaton,  November 9, 2010 at 1:25 PM  

Hey, it's Ty's blog. His rules, his opinion, his site. Don't like it, don't read it. And as he said, it's not opinion, what he said about the QB position is FACT.

The Lions have what they have at QB for the moment, and what they have is a lousy 3rd stringer who won't be on the team next season. If you want to complain, complain about the Lions keeping Drew Stanton when they would have been better served finding a developmental QB with more upside in the past off season.

Stafford and Hill are Lions QB's for the long term, and I have no issue with that...and apparently, neither do the Lions. And it's not as if they have a choice.

The Lions have gone all in on Stafford, for good reason. He's an elite talent. So they HAVE to ride the injuries out.

NorthLeft12,  November 9, 2010 at 1:31 PM  

I doubt anyone wants to see this but...... in just over nine quarters of play this year the Lions under Stafford have reached the Red Zone ten times. They have scored nine TDs and one Field Goal. Matthew has turned the ball over twice; one INT and one fumble. He still has a long way to go before he is an elite QB, but the Lions are a much better team with him in charge than anyone else. Let's be patient.

Ty,  November 9, 2010 at 1:37 PM  


"Now, in light of Stafford's injuries, perhaps it is time to use that 3rd QB spot as a developmental spot--continually using 5th/6th rounders as insurance and/or trade bait."

Yeah, there's a reason Drew is conspicuous in his absence up there, and it's because he's far more likely to get a firm handshake and a pat on the back than a contract extension at the end of the year.

Honestly, even if Stafford had finished the year out as a Pro Bowler, I'd expect the Lions to burn a late-rounder on a developmental QB; Hill won't want to play second banana forever while guys like Max Hall are holding down starting gigs. As you say, it's just something good teams do.

However, no 5th/6th/7th rounder is going to supplant Stafford or Hill immediately; at this point Stafford is unquestionably the quarterback, IR or no IR.


Big Al ... the Bundy experience,  November 9, 2010 at 2:15 PM  

Management row within the Lions organization is going to have quite a "state of the Lions" meeting this offseason. Not only building the team with the upcoming draft and free agents, but also whether or not Stafford is injury prone and what effect that illusion/reality will have on the team going forward. I really don't put much credibility into what the Lions are making known to the press about Stafford right now, the fact that Stafford is getting injured about every 3 games cannot but register thoughts of being too fragile for the NFL.

You can read Schwartz description about what the Lions intend for Stafford, interesting on the radio show Schwartz said basically its none of the fans business and the reality of the situation will remain internal within the Lions organization. That response is a very different response to earlier press releases that Delmas' groin injury could put Delmas out for the season. Delmas' and the Lions reacted to the press by saying words to the effect that Delmas' injury would keep him out of the season was a bunch of hot air. Now with Stafford, its none of our business.

There are no shortages of opinions of what the Lions should or should not do. Every fan, is proving they are a Lions fan by sharing that opinion, regardless of what that opinion is. If they weren't a Lions fan they wouldn't have an opinion or they would show up as some troll on a Lions site. So maybe we should all give each other some slack regarding the multitudes of opinions being expressed?

Me? I'd try to get Michael Vick into a Lions uniform between seasons. But the Lions have repeatedly said that Stafford is the franchise going forward, don't think that will happen. I think Hill has solidified his spot as backup, so perhaps the Lions will opt for a development qb in the later rounds as Stanton will not make a career of being the third option at the position.

Big Al ... the Bundy experience,  November 9, 2010 at 2:26 PM  

Clarification in the above post last paragraph.

Yes, I would like the Lions to sign Vick between seasons, but I don't think the Lions are going to do that.

If the resonance of that last paragraph gave the reader the impression that I didn't think Stafford was going to be the franchise going forward, then I have put misleading words within the post.

Truth be known, right now, I would like Stafford to be the franchise going forward, Stafford is a difference maker in the Lions offense, but I am not certain Stafford has the durability needed to perform in the NFL.

Apologizes for responding to my post, but when rereading it the last paragraph read as confusion.

Ty,  November 9, 2010 at 2:27 PM  

Big Al--

First of all, thanks! I appreciate the backup.

"The Lions have what they have at QB for the moment, and what they have is a lousy 3rd stringer who won't be on the team next season. If you want to complain, complain about the Lions keeping Drew Stanton when they would have been better served finding a developmental QB with more upside in the past off season."

Can't really argue with this, as much as I thought Drew was screwed over in his first two seasons. I even thought the Lions might take a stab at a developmental #3 in the 2010 draft; he's had plenty of time now to prove he can hack it as a #2 long-term, though, and . . . well, not so much.

I kind of want him to get the start this Sunday, just so he can get a win as a starter as a Lion.


ltjg62,  November 9, 2010 at 8:25 PM  

While I don't disagree with the majority of your article Ty, I think the real topic in regards to Stafford is not his long term upside as a player, but more his long term upside of being able to stay healthy and complete at least 80% of an NFL season. Let's be honest in Stafford's position (QB) the chances of another hit, tackle, whatever have to come in at 100%, especially when the enemy knows his history. These lineman and linebackers are going to tee off on him first chance they get and find out just how strong that surgically repaired shoulder is going to hold up. If he was anything but an elite athlete I would think chances were pretty good that further problems would be a minimal concern. Seeing as he is not in that minimal category, that my friend is serious cause for concern.

Anonymous,  November 9, 2010 at 9:28 PM  

When Shawn Hill was signed, it became evident that the Lions would have to keep Stanton around for another year. Doing otherwise would have meant splitting practice reps into 3 to get all the QBs familiar with the offense and get the timing down with the receivers, which would have been at the expense of Stafford's reps. But, I sure hope that Hill is good enough shape to be used as an emergency QB this Sunday -- the thought of Williams taking snaps scares me. Ideally, Stanton will play well enough so he can be traded during the off-season, or just retained, as the 3rd QB for next year, instead of taking on another project QB.

When Stafford has played he has shown that he may be the franchise QB the lions have been looking for because he certainly hasn't shown that he isn't. I don't think he is injury prone -- just take a look at the hits he got in last years Cleveland game and this year at Chicago -- but his shoulders are definitely a concern. It is a type of injury that requires a lot of time to heal properly, whether or not there is surgical intervention, so now he has it.

I thought the lions could go 8-8 this year and possibly slip into the playoffs but that is becoming less and less likely. There is a silver lining to all this. It is quite evident that they are improving talent wise. Hill and Stanton will get additional experience this year, that may provide dividends during a playoff run next year. With all the other injuries, more players are getting additional work and playing time so they can be thorougly evaluated. The Lions are just a few players away from being playoff contenders, and I am optimistic that they will be able to fill the holes in the next off season.

My only gripe with Schwartz is that he seems to stick too long with players that are hurting due to injuries and therefore are not performing as well as expected (e.g Best). He would be better off letting injured players heal, especially when it impacts their performance, and play/evaluate other personell.

If you look at the Lions long term prospects, there are a lot of reasons to be pleased. And I will not be too surprised when I get back from deer hunting and discover that the Lions did manage to scratch and claw themselves into the playoffs this year. But it has to start with Stanton in Buffalo.

telemakhos,  November 10, 2010 at 12:08 AM  

Stafford is the franchise QB for 2011 and beyond. I prefer to think his injuries are more bad luck than his being injury prone. After all, this is the lions. Whenever things seem to be going in the right direction, things just seem to go horribly wrong. That said, I predict a lockout in 2011 because the lions have a shot at being competitive.

Jimmerz,  November 10, 2010 at 6:15 PM  

"He is a remarkably talented starting quarterback"

"in a league where starting quarterbacks determine the majority of a franchise’s success"

"and are available only by drafting at the top of the first round, or by trading astonishing amounts of value."

All three of these statements sound like opinion to me, not fact. But that's just me.

"The Lions have won with him at the helm this season"

I suppose, if you consider a 1-5 record "winning".

That said, I don't disagree that Hill is by far the best option they have now and the foreseeable future.

theicon77,  November 10, 2010 at 8:57 PM

Stafford's contract is really only 4 years. Now what do yo do? Next year is year three. Do you start planning to be free of Glass Shoulder and draft someone else? Or just hope he will be alright?

And northleft12, that is not helping ease the pain whatsoever.

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