Today Aaron Rodgers is considered the best quarterback in Green Bay Packers history. Yet he hasn’t been able to win as many titles as Bart Starr did back in the 1960’s under Vince Lombardi nor has he even surpassed his predecessor Brett Favre.
As a matter of fact the Packers haven’t even been quite as dominant over the Lions as when Favre was still in Green Bay.
You’re probably asking why I’m bringing this up, but the point is this; Favre was a gunslinger. He took chances, made plays, turned the ball over and still won games. Rodgers is the polar opposite. He’s smooth, athletic, precise, doesn’t turn the ball over much and also wins.
In other words great quarterback play comes in different packages.
When Matthew Stafford is usually at his best, it’s in late game come-from-behind situations. The reason? Because it’s gunslinger time. At that point you can’t worry about mistakes, you just have to go out and fire away.
Ever since the end of the Jim Schwartz administration and carried on to a further degree by the Jim Caldwell regime, smart, turnover free football has been spoon fed to Matthew each day.
Obviously it is always preferable to not turn the ball over, but that emphasis has been hammered home to the point that Stafford is too busy thinking about not turning the ball over instead of making plays.
Every quarterback is different. For some like Rodgers or Tom Brady, the emphasis on not turning the ball over doesn’t change their ability to be aggressive and make plays. For Matthew, instead of just making a play, he thinks about it first. That extra split second is the difference between making a play and having to throw the ball away or taking a sack.
In other words Matthew has to become a gunslinger again to truly reach his full potential. Just like at the end of close games when that gunslinger mentality has allowed him to lead the Lions to so many come-from-behind wins, that same mentality would allow him to make more plays earlier in games.
Would there be more turnover? I think that goes without saying, but would the offense be stuck in neutral all day like was in Minnesota last week? Most likely not.
Matt Patricia needs to give Stafford the green light to make plays. Turnovers will never be acceptable, but leaving plays on the table because Stafford couldn’t pull trigger while being concerned about the possibility of a turnover is even less acceptable.
This team still needs help defensively and the offensive line needs to be more consistent allowing the ground game to have an impact on games as well, but until all of that is sorted out, this team will only go as far as Matthew Stafford carries them.
So they might as well go down with guns ablazin’. It may not only make a difference this season, but also down the road when this team is ready to win as well.