With Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco leading their teams to the playoffs as rookies, it’ll be tough for the 0-for-2008 Detroit Lions to justify not starting Matthew Stafford sometime in 2009. But when in 2009?
From Peter King of SI.com: “Matthew Stafford is on his way to winning the starting quarterback job in Detroit by Halloween, not by Thanksgiving.”
Let’s think about that. The only time anybody outside Detroit pays attention to the Lions is on Thanksgiving, when the Lions play their annual Turkey Day game. Would you really want to save Stafford’s first NFL start for the only day this moribund franchise has the nation’s attention? What if he, like, stinks?
Halloween, or thereabouts, sounds better. The Lions will play the almost-as-lousy Rams on Nov. 1 at Ford Field, and Detroit will be coming off a bye. But even that seems a tad slow for someone in whom $41.7 million (of which apparently only $17 million is guaranteed) has been invested. But when, then?
The Lions’ first six games: At New Orleans, Minnesota, Washington, at Chicago, Pittsburgh, at Green Bay. And then it’s late October and the bye is upon them. So maybe Nov. 1 should be targeted after all.
Writing for Sporting News Today, Vinnie Iyer suggests Detroit should go with Daunte Culpepper in 2009 and save Stafford for 2010. That’s fine in theory — Iyer: “It might not be a risk worth taking with the franchise’s great hope” — but improbable in practice. Ryan and Flacco did it. Why can’t the guy drafted No. 1 overall?
Because, Iyer argues, the Lions don’t have an offensive line or a running game or a defense. (In sum, the Lions ain’t got much.) But there were questions about the Falcons across the board in 2008, and the rising tide that was Matty Ice lifted all boats.
A guess: This Matt will be starting before September’s out. (That Redskins game in Detroit on the 27th seems inviting.) And one more date to circle: Saturday, Aug. 15, 4 p.m., Ford Field. The Lions open the exhibition season against Matty Ice’s team. Nothing like the ol’ side-by-side comparison, I say.