Today we take a look at how Matthew Stafford performed during the 2012 season with a little help from the fine folks at Pro Football Focus.
The radar chart below shows the Pro Football Focus grades for Stafford and compares him to the best, worst and league average ratings. PFF grades each player on each play to produce a massively useful tool for evaluating the totality of a player’s season compared to others at his position.
2012 Season Review
Matthew Stafford – As you can tell from the radar chart above, Matthew Stafford was very average in 2012 with his +9.8 overall rating from PFF ranking 15th. But what was particularly troubling, and downright frustrating, was the way Stafford got to that “average level”. His season was filled with ups and downs such that each PFF game rating except for one had Stafford as either solidly positive or solidly negative. Only the season opener against the Rams resulted in a rating that was between +1 and -1 (it happened to be +0.5). And even when thinking back to that game, the so-so result only came through a terrible first half followed by a very good second half. There is no doubt Stafford has the skills, it is the consistency that was an issue in 2012 and what needs to be fixed for 2013. Season stats: 435 completions, 727 attempts, 4967 yards, 20 touchdowns, 17 interceptions.
The Lions need to approach Matthew Stafford like they approached Calvin Johnson a year ago. Like Johnson, the Lions will count on Stafford for many years so there is no reason to not pursue a contract extension that locks him up for many more years and lowers his huge 2013 cap hit.
Shaun Hill‘s name has occasionally been tossed in with others that could become ex-Lions as the team works to create more space under the salary cap but I don’t think that a prudent move. The Lions’ couldn’t have been surprised by their current salary cap situation and I can’t imagine they would have agreed to a two-year deal with Hill last offseason that they didn’t plan on living with until its conclusion. Hill is a nice insurance policy behind Matthew Stafford and must be kept in place rather than creating another hole the team has to fill.
*Those that have been around the Detroit Lions blogosphere for a while may recognize the approach presented as similar to Ty Schalter’s ‘Old Mother Hubbard’ series on The Lions in Winter. Don’t worry, he’s cool with what I’m doing here and has assured me that he’ll be back with Old Mother Hubbard later in the offseason.