Matthew Stafford has put up with a lot of abuse since he arrived in Detroit as the first overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft. He has played on teams with inferior talent that haven’t protected him or been able to run the ball or even catch it on plenty of occasions.
And it’s not like he’s had a whole lot of defensive support either.
However, Matthew Stafford was the chosen one. He was a number one overall pick and teams only use the first pick in the draft on a quarterback for one reason; to lead them to the Super Bowl.
Anything less is considered unacceptable.
Needless to say, there is a great deal of pressure that goes with the territory. But that’s what he is paid very handsomely to deal with. Both on the field and off it.
Every year as we look around the league there are only a small handful of quarterbacks that can truly be called elite. Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers would be the standard bearers as the best in the business right now.
Meanwhile Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Ryan, Patrick Mahomes, Phillip Rivers, Andrew Luck and Jared Goff have all had very good seasons so far as well. Yet outside of the mobility of Rodgers, Luck and Mahomes, none of them has more talent that Stafford.
Stafford has rare arm strength and enough mobility to be effective carrying the ball when needed. He may also be the toughest quarterback in the NFL. No other signal-caller in the league today has had to deal with the consistent pressure opposing defenses have put on him due to poor O-line play in front of him and the inability to run the ball that has been the earmark of his career.
Plain and simple the ability is there. It’s the intangibles that everyone questions.
So what is the answer? Is Stafford just a guy that looks the part, but is unable to perform at the level needed to win the big games or is something legitimately missing?
Do you remember the 2011 season? That was the ‘break-out’ year for Matthew. He passed for 5,038 yards, 41 touchdown passes, 16 interceptions and finished the year with a 97.2 quarterback rating.
That was the quarterback that Lions fans were expecting when Detroit drafted him. However, he turned around and finished the 2012 season with 4.967 yards, 20 touchdown passes, 17 interceptions and a paltry 79.8 quarterback rating, which is the second lowest of his career.
The difference? That was the beginning of the emphasis of ball security.