Matthew Stafford, Matt Patricia have plenty of fans outside of Detroit
By Robert Jones
Matthew Stafford was the face of the Detroit Lions for the first nine years of his career. He had been the number one overall choice in the 2009 draft by the Lions and was expected to be the team’s savior.
This season with the arrival of Matt Patricia and his emphasis for the team to build a ground game they can rely on, Stafford was sort of relegated to the backseat.
Patricia had his handful of Super Bowl rings from his time in New England and he became the focus of the fans and media alike. Meanwhile the emergence of rookie running back Kerryon Johnson, easily the Lions best runner since Barry Sanders, made him the offensive star that everyone in the Motor City was talking about.
As for Stafford, his 10th season was nothing shy of a disaster. He played through a back injury, which I believe was worse then what we were told, the offensive line’s pass protection broke down as the season wore on, Golden Tate was traded, Marvin Jones wound up on injured reserve and the tight ends were non-existent.
Toss in Kerryon Johnson also going down to injury and the recipe for disaster was right before all our eyes to see. But not everyone jumped off the Stafford bandwagon. His supporters can also be found among those who also understand the difficulties of playing quarterback in the NFL. Like former Dallas Cowboys signal-caller Tony Romo who is now an analyst for CBS. Here’s what Romo told the Detroit Free Press.
"“[Stafford’s play this year] doesn’t change my perception of him. I think different years you have different talent around you, different coaching. I think change will be good for them from an offensive side. I think they’ll figure out how to utilize his skill set. He’s a great, talented quarterback and I think you’re going to see that next year.”"
Former Super Bowl-winning head coach Brian Billick, who is now an analyst for NFL Network, is also a big supporter of Stafford. And former New York Giants quarterback Phil Simms, who is also an analyst for CBS, agreed with Romo. Their quotes can be read here.
While both Romo and Simms are right that this season’s disaster wasn’t all Stafford’s fault, the final point remains the same; if the Lions are going to have any chance of turning things around next year Matthew Stafford will have to be much, much better.