The Detroit Lions must find a way to better protect quarterback Matthew Stafford or their dream season will quickly turn into a nightmare.
I’m not sure I get the logic. Make your quarterback the highest paid player in NFL history. Then proceed to allow him to be thrown around like a rag doll on a weekly basis.
Obviously, that’s not what the Detroit Lions had in mind when they invested heavily in two new starters along their offensive line this offseason in free agent acquisitions T.J. Lang at right guard and Ricky Wagner at right tackle. But their addition to the unit hasn’t been a totally smooth transition.
Throw in injuries suffered by Lang, left tackle Taylor Decker plus center Travis Swanson; and it seems that the Lions’ have had a hard time just fielding enough players to play on their offensive line, much less having time for this group to build any sort of chemistry.
Detroit’s issues in the trenches have hurt both the team’s rushing attack, which is non-existent at times, and the health of quarterback Matthew Stafford. And the latter has to be addressed immediately.
This Lions team was one of the hottest in the NFL last season, winning eight out of nine games mid-season, before Stafford injured his right middle finger. Detroit went on to lose their final three games of the regular season after he suffered that injury. And the team proceeded to suffer an embarrassing 26-6 loss to the Seattle Seahawks in their lone playoff appearance.
Having just posted their best start since 2011, when the team went 11-5, the Lions must protect their franchise player under center at all costs. So far, Stafford has been sacked a whopping 18 times in five games. Only two other NFL quarterbacks have been dropped more this season.
"“Six. That’s how many times Matthew Stafford has been sacked in each of his past two games … something that has only happened five total times in his career,” wrote Cynthia Frelund, Analytics Expert for the NFL Network on the league’s official website. “The Lions offensive line is a big red flag..”"
During the Lions’ 27-24 loss to the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, Stafford suffered both thigh and ankle injuries. And he’s appeared on the Lions’ injury report the past two days. Fortunately, Detroit’s most valuable player was still a full participant during practices. But at this rate, it’s only a matter of time.
The point is, the Detroit Lions absolutely need Matthew Stafford to win. Period. However they go about it, whether it’s going to more of a quick passing game or doubling down on their rushing attack, the Lions must find a way to keep Stafford upright and healthy. If not, you can kiss the season goodbye.