When should Stafford become Detroit’s No. 1 model?

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.

When should Stafford make his first NFL start?

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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.

106 comments Add your comment

mitch

June 10th, 2009
7:30 am

Dear Mr. MB–Stafford should start his first game on October 22, 2009, or if they don’t play that day, then on October 23, 2009. Your pal, Mitch.

MiltonDawg

June 10th, 2009
7:31 am

As a Stafford fan, i would not want to see him rushed in. I highly doubt the Lions will be a worst to first story, especially because of their division. No sense rushing Stafford. I’d say throw him in every so often (if the Lions are blowing out a team, which might be laughable). They need to be patient. After all, this is a $41 MIL investment…they need a long term return on it.

exNFLplayer

June 10th, 2009
7:54 am

It’s simple. When he’s ready. And being ready includes having some semblance of a supporting cast. The Lions have nothing to lose letting him sit behind Daunte Culpepper this year. They have everything to lose throwing him to the wolves too early. Although I do salivate at the thought of Stafford to Calvin Johnson. And I would hazard the guess that Calvin is ecstatic over Stafford’s presence. For the first time in his entire football career he has a guy that can get it down the field and on target instead of somewhere in his zip code. Poor guy. What a waste of talent at the college level. At least he got the bucks out of it.

Bubba

June 10th, 2009
7:56 am

The Lions will be tempted to play Stafford as soon as they can. Understandable. But, what if Daunte plays lights out QB? Do they then play Stafford by Halloween? Too many questions have to be answered before anyone can honestly say that Stafford should play by such-and-such date. The Falcons didn’t have many options behind Ryan last season, but the Falcons did have a better cast of characters than do the Lions today in their respective supporting roles. Let Stafford learn, let Daunte play, and let the chips fall where they may.

[...] Mark Bradley | ajc.com – [...]

Mark Bradley

June 10th, 2009
8:03 am

OK, Bubba. That’ll be enough of that. We don’t need people making so much sense on here. It sets a bad example for the rest of us.

mitch

June 10th, 2009
8:18 am

Dear Mr. MB–I’ve been thinking. You and Bubba are both wrong, and I’ve changed my mind about October 22, 2009. Here’s my perfervid belief: he should start his first game on September 17, 2009. If not then, when? If not him, who? YP, Mitch

Mac

June 10th, 2009
8:19 am

How do we start a movement to drop the suburban high school-ish Matty Ice and replace it with the manly throwback nickname Red?

Mark Bradley

June 10th, 2009
8:20 am

Perfervid: Nice word, Mitch.

Mark Bradley

June 10th, 2009
8:22 am

Red, huh?

I say, it Matt-ers not what we call him. A rose by any other name would still be Pete. Or something.

Mac

June 10th, 2009
8:24 am

I’m glad Dimitroff doesn’t listen to fans and I’m guessing the Detroit guys won’t either. We could’ve had Glenn Dorsey and Andre Woodson now, if these boards had made personnel decisions for the Birds. And, those decisions would’ve been for the birds, too.

MiltonDawg

June 10th, 2009
8:29 am

Mac- No Matty-Ice? Should we drop Matty all together? What about Ryan the Ridiculous (as in talent)? Or simply Ryan?

lakerat

June 10th, 2009
8:45 am

Wow – it is really a slow day in sports when both Bradley and Shultz have write about people who no longer live in this area and no longer matter to most of the constituents to whom their verbage is directed!

spider

June 10th, 2009
8:45 am

there is another QB on the LIONS roster that everyone seems to be forgetting….his names is REGGIE BALL

GreatDawg

June 10th, 2009
8:58 am

Let him start from day one. They certainly spent day one starter money don’t you think? It will be good to find out sooner rather than later if they have a Matt Ryan or a Joey Harrington. Unfortunately, he’s still not ready and there are doubts if he will ever be in some camps. We’ll see, but a strong arm does not a winner make in the NFL. Good Luck to him, but as far as I’m concerned he can’t help the Dawgs anymore so what do I care? Nothing!

GeoffDawg

June 10th, 2009
9:17 am

What is the risk in putting him out there too early? So what if he has a 1 to 2 TD to Int ratio? Is it just psychological? As long as his parents’ divorce lawyers aren’t playing at corner, he should be fine.

Calvin's Barber Shop

June 10th, 2009
9:19 am

GreatDawg says he wishes Stafford good luck, but I detect some hateration in his game.

GeoffDawg

June 10th, 2009
9:22 am

Close expcept for three cogent points spider: 1. Reggie Ball was on the Lions practice squad. 2. He’s playing as a WR with his blazing 4.8 speed. 3. He was cut entirely back in March.

GeoffDawg

June 10th, 2009
9:24 am

And I might add – Calvin Johnson would probably have cut his brake lines anyway if he were his everyday QB.

PMC

June 10th, 2009
9:34 am

Whenever he has grasp of the offense and can make the right read quickly. He’s not going to have long to get rid of the ball so he’ll have to be quick with his reads and on target.

So essentially, Whenever he is ready.

Tbone

June 10th, 2009
9:36 am

Protect Satfford for a month into the season at least. Word out of Detroit is that Calvin Johnson (who’s used to catching those weak/wobbly ACC passes) can’t handle the Stafford speedy bullets. Seems CJ needs a little adjustment also.

VICK THE LION HEART

June 10th, 2009
9:49 am

THEY NEEDS TO SIGN MIKE VICK IS WHAT THE LIONS NEEDS TO DO!

Bug

June 10th, 2009
10:19 am

In all your comparisons to Ryan/Flacco you have forgotten that they both finished their senior years. Me thinks it would be foolish to start Stafford in 2009.

But these ARE the Lions…

Brian in Athens

June 10th, 2009
10:23 am

That’s shocking that Detroit cut Reggie Ball. In a list of all-time great UGA quarterbacks he led UGA to more victories over Tech than Stafford or Green!

Mark Bradley

June 10th, 2009
10:24 am

Will there ever be another AJC.com blog regarding Georgia/Tech that doesn’t bear some mention of Reggie Ball? I think not.

Mark Bradley

June 10th, 2009
10:26 am

Oh, and if you’re so inclined, here’s a new MB post: Did the Braves err with their No. 1 pick?

And I say … uh, maybe.

Phillip

June 10th, 2009
10:39 am

Matt Stafford should start sometime in September and by opening day if he’s ready. Three Points: 1) I agree with some NFL HOF QB whose name now escapes me who said, “You don’t learn by sitting on the sideline, you learn by playing”. 2) The Detroit Lions just shelled out $41.7 million dollars for a 6 year contract and you want this invesment to “sit on the sideline” for 17% of the contract length? huh? That is right at paying $7 million dollars for Matthew Stafford to hold a clipboard – can I get one of these jobs? I bet I can hold a clipboard and send in play signals better than Stafford for $7 million. I would be the best clipboard holder in all the NFL :)

Mark Bradley

June 10th, 2009
10:41 am

Pretty nice work if you can get it, eh, Phillip?

Mac

June 10th, 2009
10:42 am

Mark Bradley wrote: Will there ever be another AJC.com blog regarding Georgia/Tech that doesn’t bear some mention of Reggie Ball? I think not.

Yes, but we will both either be retired or dead.

Mac

June 10th, 2009
10:42 am

And Red Ryan will be in the Hall of Fame.

Mark Bradley

June 10th, 2009
10:43 am

Red Ryan is starting to grow on me, I must confess. Sounds like a WW II bomber pilot. Or Robert Ryan playing a WW II bomber pilot.

Gen Neyland

June 10th, 2009
10:45 am

Either when they are 0-7 or the aging one goes down like a tree on the White HOuse lawn…Whichever, add a bead to your rosary for him…

GeoffDawg

June 10th, 2009
10:46 am

Red Ryan sounds like the a catch phrase from “The Shining”.

Old Dawg

June 10th, 2009
10:48 am

With Detroit’s history of ruining 1st round draft picks, I’d let Stafford learn the ropes for most of his first season before putting him out there. Everybody thought Andre Ware was the savior and he got destroyed. Same thing with Joey Herrington. Truth be told, unless the Lions improve their entire franchise, a rookie QB won’t be safe, and learn the pro game, regardless of when he gets his first start.

I know it’s a bottom line enterprise, but throwing talented rookies to the wolves is an all too constant in the NFL. And they wonder why there are so few great QBs.

Mark Bradley

June 10th, 2009
10:48 am

It could actually be a play. Imagine Matty I. at the line and audibilizing with, “Red Ryan! Red Ryan!”

Or, “Red Rover! Red Rover! We dare Urlacher to come over!”

Gen Neyland

June 10th, 2009
10:49 am

GeoffDawg : But is it an alcohol based beverage like redrum..?

CJ

June 10th, 2009
11:02 am

matthew stafford….:)

gdawginkalamazoo

June 10th, 2009
11:04 am

A couple of weeks ago or so the local news had a clip of Detroit’s mini camp and the QB’s were going through some drills. Daunte appeared to be limping around already. New coach, new offense, new defense, I don’t see Daunte on the roster for the long haul at his age. My guess is that Stafford starts from the get go.

Old Dawg

June 10th, 2009
11:05 am

And Urlacher will come over, but only after the snap!

Bill

June 10th, 2009
11:07 am

Reggie Ball? Can he remember what down it is?

gdawginkalamazoo

June 10th, 2009
11:07 am

By long haul I mean anything past this year. Or playing in more than 8 games. That’s considered a long haul for recent Lion QB’s.

Mark Bradley

June 10th, 2009
11:09 am

I’ve been told that at least one Georgia Tech coach didn’t know it was fourth down, either. (No, not Chan Gailey. He knew.)

saint simons

June 10th, 2009
11:17 am

He’s no robot. Tickle pile anyone?

saint simons

June 10th, 2009
11:22 am

I was a male majorette at Tech:)

willdave

June 10th, 2009
11:29 am

“THEY NEEDS TO SIGN MIKE VICK IS WHAT THE LIONS NEEDS TO DO!”

VTLH, how can Detroit or any other NFL team for that matter sign a player who remains suspended from playing in the league?

Anyway, Culepepper should serve them well for now. Look for Stafford to start sooner rather than later. This franchise needs to give the fans something to get excited about, a reason to believe that their future will be brighter. Installing Stafford as their centerpiece should do just that. I think he will be another great one.

saint simons

June 10th, 2009
11:31 am

45-42 I am so gay.

gdawginkalamazoo

June 10th, 2009
11:31 am

Still laughing my a$$ off at that play. Wizzing the ball OB. Trotting back to the huddle only to see the defense standing there. 92,000+ people collectively muttering WTF?

Mark Bradley

June 10th, 2009
11:33 am

Headed to lunch with the basketball savant Elizabeth. If a bowl game breaks out at Chick-fil-A, I’ll update you.

reservoirDAWG

June 10th, 2009
11:45 am

Zoo, that never gets old.

Maddog

June 10th, 2009
12:03 pm

When was the last time Culpepper played “lights out”?