Lions shouldn’t rush Stafford if he’s not ready

Matthew Stafford is already feeling the heat in the NFL.

Matthew Stafford is already feeling the heat in the NFL.

The problem with Matt Ryan is he has ruined it for everybody else. Ryan had an off-the-charts first season with the Falcons and so now every team and fan base with a No. 1 draft pick at quarterback thinks, “Our rookie quarterback can be off the charts, too!”

Should Matthew Stafford start for the Lions this season, regardless of his pre-season stats?

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If the Detroit Lions make that mistake, they’re going to screw up Matthew Stafford. And it’s not as if this franchise hasn’t wrecked quarterbacks before.

Stafford has played in two exhibitions. He has shown he’s not ready to step into NFL starting job yet. He has struggled with his feel in the pocket and anticipating defense adjustments, and it’s certainly way too early to assess leadership abilities. All three were knocks on him before the draft. Two exhibitions (one start) hardly define a career. I still believe Stafford will be a successful NFL quarterback. But the Lions would be making a mistake to rush him.

The Falcons were in a different situation last year. Ryan was ahead of the curve, and they didn’t have as strong of a veteran option (Chris Redman) as Detroit clearly has (Daunte Culpepper). If the Lions start Stafford and he flops, it may be hard for the former Georgia quarterback to recover this season, given he has never failed as a starter before and the Lions’ fan base isn’t exactly patient at this point in time. It would be easier to start with Culpepper and make the change later.

Stafford went 5 for 13 with an interception in his first start against Cleveland. He missed a wide open Adam Jennings for a sure touchdown pass. In two exhibitions, he’s 12 for 27 for 148 yards, two interceptions, one fumble and one touchdown. After the Browns’ game, he told the Detroit Free Press, “I just couldn’t find a rhythm. I wish I could have kept playing. … That would have been great to come in, sit down at halftime, come back out and have a new perspective on things and go and try to make some plays. But that’s not the way the preseason is.”

And the worst news is: Every team is looking like Florida.

92 comments Add your comment

matt r

August 24th, 2009
9:33 am

Flacco didn’t help matters either in that regard.

Jeff Schultz

August 24th, 2009
9:35 am

Right. Make that rookies ahead of the curve.

Jeff Schultz

August 24th, 2009
9:37 am

I’ve decided to add a poll above. Weigh in and vote.

Saint Simons

August 24th, 2009
9:53 am

Stafford’s first pass was int for a td !!!!!

midnite

August 24th, 2009
9:53 am

That is not a good situation to be in for Stafford. The last thing the Lions need to do is rush him, destroy any confidence he has, and get the fans down on him. On the other hand he sure is a wealthy young man now and “to whom much is given, much is required.” Joey Harrington anyone?

Jeff Schultz

August 24th, 2009
9:54 am

Joey Harrington . . . Andre Ware . . . Chuck Long . . .

m

August 24th, 2009
9:55 am

Stafford is Jeff George…a total waste of time and money.

DamYankee

August 24th, 2009
9:55 am

Truman08

August 24th, 2009
10:00 am

He is playing just like he did at Georgia…He needs to take his 41 million buy him a fitted Lions cap and practice his cheers.

BugKiller

August 24th, 2009
10:01 am

I’m sick and tired of Joe Fluke-O being compared to Matt Ryan.

ESPECIALLY when it comes to the wins his TEAM won in the playoffs.

Look at his numbers from those games. They’re horrid. If it weren’t for the Ravens’ stout defense, they’d have been out after the the first game.

Unfortunately, Atlanta didn’t have a linebacker, like Bart Scott or Ray Lewis who could cover a tight end, or you know, recognize a tight end running right by them as they blew their coverage assignment.

Like the always overrated Keith Brooking did.

Joe Fluke-O isn’t close to the level of Matt Ryan. Schultz’s grandma could’ve quarterbacked the Ravens to the playoffs simply by handing the ball off and not losing the game.

Case in point: Joe Fluke-O never “won” a game last year for the Ravens, yet I can remember at least two games that Matt Ryan won for the Falcons, one in spectacular fashion, in the teeth of a safety blitz with 6 seconds left in the game.

The Dogfighter Returns

August 24th, 2009
10:06 am

the moronic lions should have drafted a lineman or traded down and obtained extra picks to draft more linemen. stafford will never beat out hometown favorite drew stanton. with stanton and cullpeper they were set at the QB position.

The lions are a bunch of clowns. football is a simple game that is determined in the trenches.

reebok

August 24th, 2009
10:06 am

Tech fan here, and I hope the Lions are willing to take the long view and not push Stafford intot he starting role until he is ready. He’s extremely talented physically, but he needs to be coached up to succeed at this level. Remember Tim Couch?

Jeff Schultz

August 24th, 2009
10:10 am

M — Jeff George: those are 4-letter words. I would hope Stafford turns out better than that.

Bugkiller — I hear ya on the Ravens’ QB thing. Trent Dilfer won the Super Bowl with them, after all. That said, I think Flacco’s pretty good — not Ryan, but pretty good.

Dogfighter — I will give you this: The franchise doesn’t have a great track record.

carpetbagger

August 24th, 2009
10:17 am

Dogfighter – I’m sure they considered unloading the #1 pick, but there might not have been any takers. I agree that rebuilding from the trenches would have been a better option. But Stafford does not strike me as a guy who is going to lose confidence after a couple of sub-par performances.

collegeballfan

August 24th, 2009
10:20 am

Starting QB in the NFL appears to be as much mental as physical.
Stafford can be ready physically but not mentally. The mental part was Ryan’s edge over others. During his first preseason game last year Ryan
was working the OL on the sidelines. The OL came became Ryan belivers
during that game.

Mark

August 24th, 2009
10:21 am

Stafford should be afforded the opportunity to carry a clipboard and focus on learning the feel he will need for the NFL. Detroit won’t make it to the playoffs this year, but even those who believe they have a chance are predicating that belief on Culpepper, not Stafford. No matter how much money a college QB is paid, that first year is usually a waste. There are exceptions but do the Lions risk their long term future praying for an exception?

DawginLex

August 24th, 2009
10:21 am

Hey idiot “m”,

Which way is it? Stafford was a first round draft pick and Tech beat the almighty Dawgs or Tech beat the dawgs who played a QB who is the 2nd coming of Jeff George?

Using your logic, the only way Tech beats UGA is when UGA underachieves or is just flat out no good. Doesn’t make for much to brag about does it? It is nice to know that you understand that Tech has no chance to beat UGA when UGA plays up to its potential.

GaDawgs7

August 24th, 2009
10:24 am

Stafford also needs a supporting cast, and the Lions are mediocre at best. With a running game and a healthy Calvin Johnson, he (or Culpepper) becomes a much better QB. Even with Ryan, it helped take some pressure off with Michael Turner running the ball, and a good receiving group. Even Ryan had his struggles, especially early (remember the first Tampa bay and Carolina games?). My point is, Ryan had a good supporting cast and was in the right system to help him succeed. Right now, Stafford is not. For that reason, they shouldn’t rush Stafford and bring him along slowly. Culpepper should probably start the season but at some point it will become Stafford’s team. I think he’s going to be a great pro quarterback at some point, but with the current Lions team, even Tom Brady and Peyton Manning would struggle

Otto

August 24th, 2009
10:26 am

Mark you are somehow assuming the Lions have a long term future. The teams only bright spot in decades was Sanders.

sidslid

August 24th, 2009
10:27 am

Wrong place at the wrong time. This is going to be ugly whether he starts this year, next year or in the year 2525 if man is still alive. Great leaders overcome weak offensive lines, etc. and Stafford couldn’t do that last year (with an All-Amiercan tailback at his side). Look at Big Ben last year. That was the worst Steeler O-Line in a long time and Willile Parker wasn’t at his best, yet he dragged them to a Super Bowl win.

Vick=Dog killing thug

August 24th, 2009
10:36 am

New management in Detriot. Schwartz is no idiot and I suspect he will start the capable culpepper. Stafford will do just fine as always…

JMar

August 24th, 2009
10:41 am

In his rookie season, Peyton Manning went 3-13, passer rating of 71.2, 26 TDs to 28 INTs, and a completion rate of 56.7%. Failure your first season, especially when a lot of the pieces of a good offense are still missing, does not necessarily send a young quarterback’s career on a downward spiral.

gratefuldawghead

August 24th, 2009
10:42 am

Steve Young had to play at Tampa Bay going 3-16 and never looked like a Super Bowl QB! I say they paid him, Play him!

dgroy

August 24th, 2009
10:42 am

I agree with “m”…….Matthew Stafford’s biggest problem is his selfishnes…..his teammates are gonna find that out….

BoiseDawg

August 24th, 2009
10:49 am

I agree Matt Ryan walked into a better situation, but part of this may be Stafford needing another year in college. He didn’t exactly light the world on fire last year. Didn’t Matt Ryan play his senior year at BC? I will say I am glad he is gone though. Nothing against Stafford personally, I wish him well and all the success in the NFL… but I am excited to see what Joe Cox can do.

Bob Horner had a sweet compact swing

August 24th, 2009
10:49 am

Every team is looking like Florida…….Jeff you crack me up man…you just had to go there didn’t you….too funny…I agree Stafford doesn’t look ready…..

stop whining

August 24th, 2009
10:51 am

I agree, but the Lions throwed him big money before knowing if he’s ready.

stop whining

August 24th, 2009
10:51 am

M

August 24th, 2009
11:03 am

Jeff – I think the Colorado, UK, and Vandy games his freshmen year. Do you not consider that failing as a starter since he was pulled, benched, then named starter again and struggled mightily as a true freshmen?

Liquid Nails

August 24th, 2009
11:05 am

Andre Ware + Chuck Long – Eric Hipple = Matt Stafford

Get Real

August 24th, 2009
11:10 am

Sounds like you are already preparing for future articles where you blame the Lions rushing his maturation vs the real reason that he may be overhyped like the other recent great GA QB dud.

Jeff Treadway turned a mean double play

August 24th, 2009
11:12 am

Doug Johnson + Tony Graziani – Larry Fortner = D.J. Shockley

D.J. Shockley is stinking up the joint

August 24th, 2009
11:14 am

Methinks Schultz called this last week. Dude’s playing himself right off the roster.

Iceman

August 24th, 2009
11:15 am

It’s not all Staff’s fault, it’s merely the nature of the Lions.

Timbo

August 24th, 2009
11:15 am

The Lions need to take the approach that the Bengals took with Carson Palmer. Let him watch for a year. The problem with this approach though is the absurd about of money the Lions would be paying their number 1 draft pick to sit on the bench.

Chris

August 24th, 2009
11:16 am

Love the continued haters of all things Georgia. What, no witty play on ‘UGA’ today? No homophobic connotations? I’m crestfallen.

I’ve thought all along that Stafford should sit for awhile. Perhaps most of the year. He needs to get aclimatized to the speed of the NFL where it really is like Florida every week. No need to rush. He doesn’t have the team that Ryan, Flacco or my boy Roethisberger did.

What other QB dud would that be – Greene? Anyone who ever watched him play knew he’d never make it in the NFL. He was too much of a manager, something that NFL types only want out of a ten-year vet. Not to mention he got drafted by the worst possible organization – one with an entrenched Pro Bowler, and a stud backup. He never wanted to be there, and he’s told you the very same thing. He’s going to be a great QB coach one day, though.

Lions Fan

August 24th, 2009
11:17 am

Jeff: Look at the points in the article below why Stafford and the Lions are a bad marraige. Makes a lot of sense and Staff’s desire to go there may end up being a career mistake. http://sportsclimax.com/nfl/why-stafford-and-lions-are-a-bad-marriage/

Jeff Schultz

August 24th, 2009
11:18 am

Gratefuldawghead – Steve Young sat behind Joe Montana for a few seasons before 49ers finally traded Montana to Kansas City and Young got the starting job.

M – He never was clearly established as Georgia starter at the outset. It’s different in NFL – and yes, it’s a lot different being pulled in and out on NFL stage, esp. with that contract, than it is a true freshman in college with rotating QBs.

This broken record is gettin' old

August 24th, 2009
11:28 am

M’s an idiot

L.A. Express

August 24th, 2009
11:32 am

Steve Young went from the USFL to Tampa Bay to SF and the Hall of Fame. Did I miss any other stops?

Ed

August 24th, 2009
11:33 am

When every team starts looking like the ‘07 version of Florida, then Stafford will have it made.

Pi$$onaDawg

August 24th, 2009
11:39 am

It is Big Boy Football now. The NFL is not the NCAA or the SEC. Matt will be fine given time to learn more about the game. He should have stayed at UGA, but he didn’t and now will have to spend the year watching and get to the speed of the NFL. He will be better than many of the past UGA QBs. If Matt can’t handle the media they will eat him alive. The problem isn’t that these teams are better than the Gators. The fact is the NFL team are not Vandy, So. Carolina, Kentucky, and Tenn.

BigMike

August 24th, 2009
11:53 am

Detroit, where QB’S and careers go to die!…. On another note, I know were in the ATL, but can you guys stop acting like M. Ryan has won more than a game in the playoffs !Geez you’d think he was the second coming of Rothlisberger. This we’ll tell what he is or isn’t this year. PS. if you didn’t notice, he cooled off after some of the NFL coaches had game tape of him , and do you guys remember ARIZONA….. M, whoever you may be get a life, cause you obviously no nothing about football…..And finally Sachultz keep doing what you do, these clowns that want to blog, and claim they know football are funny, and need your insight, Stafford will be fine in the NFL Jeff, but not with the Destoyed Lions!!!!!!!

Falcons r the S***!

August 24th, 2009
11:56 am

I agree to an extent. But the fact remains like it is. Matt Stafford is a GREAT QB. But if any of you r GA fans like me, u would remember he came in to the same type of situation bailing out Joe Cox. And if i recall he struggled a little bit till he got into his rhythm. Stafford does need to wait just a little but i would have him in by week 4 or 5.

BigMike

August 24th, 2009
12:03 pm

Jeff on another note, all the hype about Stafford and Moreno, what’s up with Massaquoi? Oh and bye the way M you are Adouble don’t know football dweeb moron. Go blog on the entertainment blog. MORON!!

Lowcountry Bulldawg

August 24th, 2009
12:03 pm

Boisedawg,

You have the best point. Ryan 4 years at B.C., while Stafford spent 3 seasonat UGA. Also Stafford was now where near consistent enough in Athens to appear ready to walk in to a NFL huddle and start from Day 1.

Andy in Blairsville

August 24th, 2009
12:04 pm

The Lions will soon learn they over paid for this quarterback of average skill and Stafford will find quickly find out that the Lions offensive line sucks as he is continually sacked.

Jeff Schultz

August 24th, 2009
12:04 pm

LA Express — That was it. But Young didn’t take over as starter in SF until his fifth year there. That guy ahead of him was pretty good, as I recall.

Poll results pretty lopsided so far — 80-20 to not start Stafford.

Saint Simons

August 24th, 2009
12:05 pm

Stafford, what a joke!!!!!!!

BigMike

August 24th, 2009
12:08 pm

The Gators! So overrated, I’ll gaurantee two regular season losses.I’ve got the first $100. It is a guarantee!!!