5 reasons Matthew Stafford left UGA without a title

Matthew Stafford after his final fling: Three bowl wins, no SEC titles. (AJC photo by Pouya Dianat)

Matthew Stafford's final fling: Three bowl wins, no SEC titles. (AJC photo by Pouya Dianat)

1. He never quite grasped the need for a quarterback to be a leader. (For someone who does grasp that need, see Matt Ryan of Flowery Branch.)

2. He never fully understood that a quarterback can lose a game faster than he can win one. When in doubt, he trusted his arm. Sometimes his arm let him, and his team, down.

3. He never worked behind a top-shelf offensive line. That wasn’t his fault, but he compounded the liability by throwing too often off his back foot.

4. He was never as accurate as someone with his arm should have been. He completed 57.2 percent of his passes at UGA; David Greene completed 59 percent. Greene also threw fewer interceptions over four seasons than Stafford did over three.

5. He played at the same time as Tim Tebow.

(And with that, our all-Georgia Tuesday is complete. The first installment: 5 reasons Georgia should be concerned about Joe Cox. The second: 5 reasons Georgia shouldn’t be worried about Joe Cox. Coming soon: 5 reasons Bradley shouldn’t do any more of these “5 reasons” deals.)

152 comments Add your comment

UGA Student

August 25th, 2009
2:52 pm

The root of problem was, without a doubt, Mike Bobo, Willie Martinez, and the immortal Mark Richt. Great work again by our trusty AJC staff. Apparently he has all the previously mentioned flaws, and was taken #1? Perhaps Bradley knows something the scouts don’t…

Number 1 Gator Fan

August 25th, 2009
2:57 pm

Obviously it is because he played at UGA…..and all they know how to do is recruit well….and underperform ….year in…..and year out

AHHHH

August 25th, 2009
2:59 pm

It’s hard for a coach, a former qb himself, not to fall in love with a Stafford type qb. Big, tall, huge arm, all of the physical qualities you look for in a qb. Accuracy on the deep ball was always a question mark, and his leadership abilities were vanilla, at best.

Pago Flyer

August 25th, 2009
3:01 pm

A pretty good assessment….

Beoti

August 25th, 2009
3:01 pm

He had both eyes on the NFL and none and SEC trophy.

Brad

August 25th, 2009
3:07 pm

Stafford played for NFL draft day….NOT for the “G” on his helmet.

Really?

August 25th, 2009
3:08 pm

Enter your comments here

FalconUGAFan

August 25th, 2009
3:08 pm

Matthew Stafford came to UGA for one reason and one reason only. He came here to go to the NFL. He was a big fish in a medium-sized pond that has a rep for sending players to the NFL. As much as I hate the Gators, give me a Tebow any day. Heart as big as a Mack truck. Just sayin…

ByteMe

August 25th, 2009
3:10 pm

1. He didn’t make the players around him better.

2. He didn’t have enough targets.

3. He really did have his eyes on the NFL instead of on the SEC trophy.

4. It’s not all about offense. Your defense has to stop the other team. See #1.

5. He played in an offensive scheme that wasn’t dynamic enough to make him appear to be anything more than a decent quarterback with average talent around him.

South Florida Dawg

August 25th, 2009
3:12 pm

Really only three reasons. He could not “look off” a receiver and looked right at the guy he was going to throw the pass to and he had no accuracy beyond 20 yards. Check his first game in Detroit. Threw an interception because the defender read his eyes and he missed a wide open receiver about 25 yards out. The third reason is simple he does not have “it”. He will hang around for years but never be a superstar. Can you say Jeff George?

Really?

August 25th, 2009
3:12 pm

Matthew Stafford did not win a titile because UGA was never a home for him…It was a stepping stone toward being the No.1 pick. Players like Greene and Pollack and Curran and Owens will chant “Its great to be a Georgia Bulldog” with pride. Stafford even though not a jerk…just never sold out to a team game. He reminds me a lot of John Elway (see Stanford carreer) Anyway Bradley I guess Caleb King is about to go for 2,000 this year huh? lol. GOOOOOO DAWGS

Clete

August 25th, 2009
3:13 pm

Uhhhhhh, how about the #1 pick in the NFL draft????????

Otto

August 25th, 2009
3:14 pm

CMR has had 3 QBs:
1) Green 1 SEC title played for a 2nd in 4 yrs
2) DJ 1 SEC title 1 Year as starter
3) Stafford 3 years no titles, lowest completion percentage

CMR was not the problem.

Ali Akbar Allah

August 25th, 2009
3:14 pm

How about 5 reasons while Tech will dominate the in-state series

1) Paul Johnson is a better coach
2) Tech players are smarter than the average dog player
3) Johnson is bringing in better players
4) Mark Rickt does less with his players
5) Willy Martinez can’t stop Tech’s offense

DawginLex

August 25th, 2009
3:14 pm

I love the idiots like gaytor fan who says that UGA underperforms year in and year out. 82 wins in 8 years and richt is an underperforming idiot?
How old are you?
Does your memory go back further than 1 year ago?

Stafford was the ultimate gunslinger. He thought that his arm could get him out of any situation. He must learn(and he will) that sometimes it is ok to dial it back a notch, take a sack, throw the ball away and live to see another day.

To the gaytor idiot;

Who was the QB in the UGA/Florida game in 2007? He sure underperformed that day didn’t he.

Moron

RxDawg

August 25th, 2009
3:14 pm

#2 can be translated into simply too many turnovers. I like Stafford. Part of me wishes that he hadn’t of given up his senior season. It could of been great. But that part is quickly disregared because I’m so happy for Joe to finally get his shot. I’m not concerned about our QB position at all. I wish Stafford the best, but it’s Joe’s time now.

“Greene also threw fewer interceptions over four seasons than Stafford did over three.”
That kind of says it all.

ForTheRecord

August 25th, 2009
3:14 pm

How about he was simply over rated. He has the arm but he lacks to other intangibles like heart! Desire! and Great work ethic that goes with greatness. He just wasn’t a great leader.

Tide Rising

August 25th, 2009
3:18 pm

Mark,

I think you’re a little rough on Stafford. He just played behind a makeshift offensive line last year that had a lot of injuries. He still managed 10 wins and overall still had a great career. I think he could have had better touch on the long ball and better overall accuracy but he was still a heck of a qb.

SuperB

August 25th, 2009
3:19 pm

To all the no. 1 Gator fans– ad nauseum: In between your title twirls, you were 9-4. And the Gators have had some talented, under-winners in their time– great with no titles. Wayne “Pease” be with you. Still, under Richt, 82 wins in 8 seasons ain’t bad. All you gas bags better check your own W-L’s before crowing.

As for Mark Bradley, look to no. 3, the OL, before you criticize Stafford. Come to think of it, that’s all Bradley seems to be able to do: criticize and look for the negative. Kinda like the Glenn Beck of newspaper reporters.

UGA Student

August 25th, 2009
3:23 pm

U of Texas isn’t a gateway to the NFL? I

DawgGirl32

August 25th, 2009
3:23 pm

First?

I don’t know if I totally buy into this whole “Stafford wasn’t a leader” stuff. I really wonder what the other players would say if they were to be completely honest. I think maybe the more important reason he never won a title is #5. As much as I hate it, Tebow may end up going down as the best college football player ever, and you really just can’t compete with that.

takedowndawg

August 25th, 2009
3:23 pm

It takes excellent play on both sides of the ball to win championships. Our defense has not been top notch during his tenure with the Dawgs. Maybe with the exception of the end of 2007. Also, our special teams repeatedly let us down. For Stafford,in my opinion, it is like a great baseball pitcher who lacks an infield to back him up. The pitcher will overthrow generally and try to win it on his own but normally without full succes. Nothing builds confidence in an offense like a defense on a baseball field or on a football field. A defense that you know will carry their own load and you can depend on them. Your quarterback can then play within their offensive abilities. The quarterback is less likely to attempt risky throws like into double coverage type passes etc. MS looked many times during his three years like he was doing just that. I don’t think that he was the best leader that Georgia ever produced(Green fit that bill) but I do believe he was one of the most gifted qb.s in the last 20 years I personally have witnessed. I wish him well and thanks for your time spent with our Dawgs…..old alumni.

wycliff lovelace

August 25th, 2009
3:24 pm

Dog Days

August 25th, 2009
3:24 pm

Stafford got $41 MM things out of his time at UGA. That’s all he wanted. Probably a nice guy but seemed extremely self-satisfied and I’m guessing, honestly didn’t care much about a title.

Stafford

August 25th, 2009
3:31 pm

Otto–Get off of my back.

Number 1 Gator Fan

August 25th, 2009
3:32 pm

EASY….Stafford never had a decent target…..he has a pretty good one in Detroit

bird dawg

August 25th, 2009
3:45 pm

can’t really say much about his completion ratio..the dude had WAAAAAYYYYY too many passes DROPPED.. could’ve been over 60% in my opinion..and that’s the number you want your QB to be at..(at least)..

i will say he did over throw a lot of people though..

lets not forget,,DEFENSE wins championships, not quarterbacks…(other than tebow)..just ask peyton manning and sam bradford..

hmmmm.......

August 25th, 2009
3:47 pm

superDawg

August 25th, 2009
3:48 pm

H.Walker was the greatest college player ever.He made the biggest impact on the field and could change the outcome any time he touched the ball.Not to take anything away from Tebow he may be the second best of all time.Earl Campball is up there with Bo Jackson.

Pi$$onaDawg

August 25th, 2009
3:53 pm

5 reasons W.I.L.L.E= 1-5. #6 No Show took himself too many times inside the RED ZONE. #7 can’t get touch on the long ball. #8 No Mass couldn’t make catches for most of his time at UGA.

Lowcountry Bulldawg

August 25th, 2009
3:55 pm

Fair assestment of Stafford, but unfortunately Stafford did not have the talent arround him to win a Title at UGA while Tebow and Meyer where building the dynasty in Jacksonville. Stafford without any question was never going to be here for four years, but who can blame the young man. Lets just hope this next crop of young QB’s do really bleed Red and Black.

DawginLex

August 25th, 2009
3:58 pm

Yeah, that ‘nomass” couldn’t catch anything. Except the game winner against Yech in 2006. The bomb against UF in 2007. Screwed up so much he ended up in the NFL. Yeah, he sure didn’t do much.

Pi$$onyou

Pi$$onaDawg

August 25th, 2009
3:59 pm

SuperDawg as great a player, person, and multi-minds as H. Walker was. He was a fool that listened to D. TRUMP and took the money. Bo Jackson and (puke in my mouth) Deion Sanders were better while playing two sports and doing both well. If Van Goiter(spell?) was the DC Staffford would have looked better because the D would only give-up 21 pts. at most in 7 out of 10 games.

crazy_4_GT

August 25th, 2009
3:59 pm

As an outside observer…I think ‘Really?’ has it right. I don’t think UGA was ever important to him. I think he is a great talent but won’t ever achieve anything. I’ll take the David Greenes and George Godseys of the world anyday.

Pi$$onaDawg

August 25th, 2009
4:01 pm

SUPERDAWG there was this guy at OSU that has 2 Heismans in his trophy case. I think that is pretty good too.

Tom

August 25th, 2009
4:02 pm

DG32, if you’re really nice to Stafford you could end up as DG36 or 38.

sammiamm

August 25th, 2009
4:02 pm

1. T
2. E
3. A
4. M
5. ?

Pi$$onaDawg

August 25th, 2009
4:06 pm

LEX go back and read the Blogs about No-MASS and hear what all your butt sniffers said about him more times than not. A few catches for score are great but more 3rd down conversions for 1st downs would have done his team better. Check the record and see.

Pi$$onaDawg

August 25th, 2009
4:10 pm

PS LEX drafted and check don’t mean he is in the NFL. Let him earn that money on GAMEDAY SUNDAY and then talk. Hines Ward is the GREATEST DAWG to play in the NFL. WHY? He cares to make himself better every chance he gets. Walker greatest at UGA, but WARD greatest to carry UGA to the NFL.

DawginLex

August 25th, 2009
4:13 pm

Momass had a great senior year. He got drafted and appears to be sticking in the league. That’s good enough for me and nothing requires me to do anything at the request of someone whose blog handle is offensive and uses terms like ugay,ugag,butsniffers,leghumpers etc.

Pi$$onyou

austindog

August 25th, 2009
4:14 pm

UGAgrad, UTexas already had Colt McCoy and Jevan Snead from Stafford’s recruiting class.

Mark Bradley

August 25th, 2009
4:14 pm

Leadership among players is largely overrated IMHO, with one exception – QB.

Moonlight Mile

August 25th, 2009
4:21 pm

Stafford wasn’t perfect at UGA and was always a little too much of a superstar from the moment he stepped on campus. That said, he was a fantastic player and we were lucky to have him.

Let’s also not forget that the horseshoe stuck up UT’s behind kept us out of the SECC in 2007 and possibly a shot at the NC. It takes a little luck too.

uga_b

August 25th, 2009
4:22 pm

#6 Ohio State and LSU being “polled” higher.
#7 He was only one player out of 24.

uga_b

August 25th, 2009
4:25 pm

I would argue we missed leadership in the MLB or Safety positions more than at QB. UF’s Spikes doesn’t get enough credit for leading his side of the ball.

The offense scored a lot of points last year. The main exception being the UF game, where he did have a bad pick (He trusted his big arm and would throw off his back foot a la Farve). I am not sure you can blame the “O” last year.

T-Bone

August 25th, 2009
4:26 pm

Mark,

Now it’s time for a 5-reasons for Tech. Like 5 reasons Tech will beat UGA again this year. 5 reasons Tech will be better this year than last year.

Drago

August 25th, 2009
4:32 pm

Staff seemed to center on one or two receivers–no matter where they were in his progression. Demiko Goodman was as fast as anybody in the conference and could jump like a deer. How they avoided hooking up at least once a game for a score is beyond me.

Concerned

August 25th, 2009
4:33 pm

Prior to 2007, in the 120+ years of Georgia football, UGA had finished 1st or 2nd in the AP poll twice. Under Stafford, they accomplished this feat.

Also, if you have won a total of 12 SEC Championships and finished in the top 2 only three times, it is obviously more difficult to finish in the top 2 than win a conference championship.

Furthermore, and I know this did not happen, if the defense does anything against Tech, Stafford would have the first starting QB in UGA history to go 6-0 vs Auburn and Tech.

One more stat, Stafford led Georgia to more wins when the team trailed in the 4th quarter or OT than any other QB in UGA history.

GeorgiaGirl

August 25th, 2009
4:33 pm

I liked Stafford, but he didn’t have the heart or leadership abilities of Greene and Shockley (or Joe Cox according to his team mates)… Wish him the best in the NFL, but I’m happy to have a “Georgia Boy” back under center… Go Dawgs!!!

BugKiller

August 25th, 2009
4:38 pm

Mark,

Okay, the knocks on Stafford about his leadership are fair game. He didn’t do the little things to lead the team that he could.

In a way, Mark, you can say he was and is very much a Chipper Jones. Sometimes, rah-rah is what you need to get the team going. We all know how Chipper hates rah-rah. So too, it seems, does Stafford.

Or, to use another football example, he’s more Eli Manning and less Peyton.

But what’s unfair is the knocks on his accuracy. You and other always talk about his career completion percentage. Why not inform us what his completion percentage was in every year of his three years.

You’ll see that he improved every year and finished at over 60% his last year.

So come on man, let’s be fair to the guy. Knock him for what he deserves to be knocked on. But let’s not play around with numbers to paint a worse picture than reality.