Why Detroit is Wasting Matthew Stafford’s Career Away.
Why Detroit is Wasting Matthew Stafford’s Career Away
Matthew Stafford was drafted in 2009 as the first overall pick out of Georgia. This would be the draft after the 0-16 season. They took Stafford and knew from that moment he would be the franchise quarterback to pair up with Calvin Johnson. As of 2019, the team has changed in a lot of ways and quite frankly the Lions are wasting Matt Stafford’s career.
In his first two seasons, Stafford only played 13 games. His rookie season he had played in 10 games but in 2010 he only made it to 3. He broke his collarbone on a game-winning drive against the Cleveland Browns. From that point on we saw how tough and how much heart this kid had, and it was only the beginning.
In 2011, he had arguably one of the best passing seasons from a third-year quarterback ever. He threw for 5,000+ yards, averaging 314.9 yards a game, with 41 touchdowns on 16 interceptions. He also won the 2011 All-Pro Comeback Player of the year, while leading the Lions to a playoff game.
Stafford has always had decent weapons to throw to, including Megatron. However, the Lions have never been able to give Stafford a complementary running game. The Lions offense went four years without a 100-yard rushing game. FOUR years. Reggie Bush was the last player to do this back in 2013 until 2018 when Kerryon Johnson finally broke the drought in a victory over the Patriots.
Another factor holding Stafford back is the team’s defense. The Lions haven’t had a good defense since 2014. Detroit had Suh in his prime, Darius Slay in his breakout season, Glover Quin leading the league in interceptions, and also having an elite pass rusher in Ezekiel Ansah. It’s been five years since then and this defense has only progressively gotten worse.
Even in 2019 with defensive “guru” Matt Patricia, the Lions defense still can’t help out Stafford out. The defense is ranked 31st in the league giving up over 400 yards a game. This includes allowing over five yards per carry. This is hell for an offense. To see your defense continuously blow leads kills the morale of a team. This season the Lions are 1 of 3 teams that have had a lead in every game but only have a 3-5-1 record to show for it.
Matthew Stafford is 31, he is in his prime playing at an MVP caliber level. He missed weeks 9 and 10 of this season with fractured bones in his back. and could also miss the next couple as well. Week 9 was the first time Stafford has missed a game since 2011. The Lions are now 3-6-1 and have no chance to make the playoffs…again. If this is the end of the season and the Lions are banking on next year to make a playoff push, which seems to be their move every year, they need to bring in o-line help and key players on defense.
Stafford has taken this team from being a bottom feeder and laughing stock to at least making them respectable. However, a quarterback cannot do everything on his own. It’s a team effort and if the Lions organization does not draft well or pick up key free agents Stafford’s career will be a waste and the Lions will have to start from scratch.