What’s going on with the Detroit Lions star quarterback?
By Ryan Russell
The Detroit Lions have yet to play their star quarterback in the 2019 preseason, which has sparked some skepticism and concern but is it truly warranted?
The Detroit Lions are halfway through the 2019 NFL preseason and have yet to give their starters any valuable in-game reps. This has the fans taking notice and stirring some concerns as to whether the Lions starting line-up will be ready for their week one matchup against the Arizona Cardinals.
As Detroit is yet to play many of their starters, the one player that the fans seem to be most worried for is quarterback Matthew Stafford. Fans of the pride are clamoring over Stafford’s lack of playing time this offseason and they are worried it is going to damper his play in 2019. Also, fans are hearing he may be injured, but Stafford says he is fine.
The Detroit Lions have hired a new offensive coordinator (Darrell Bevell) and a new quarterbacks coach (Sean Ryan) to work with Stafford and company. Along with these hires comes a new scheme to learn, full of new plays and signals that go with it. So, I can appreciate the concern that has been growing in Motown, to an extent anyway.
I understand the burning questions surrounding Stafford’s playing time, to a point that is. If the only avenue to take in preparation and the learning process was to play in these preseason games, I would be troubled as well. The thing is, it’s not. Joint practices offer in-game scenarios with a whole lot less of a chance for injuries. As long as its helping, I prefer this route.
Detroit has had a couple of very valuable joint practices with the New England Patriots and the Houston Texans. This is where the starters are getting valuable reps. The Lions have decided to use the preseason games as a way to evaluate more players in live game action. As far as Stafford and the majority of the starters go, we already know what we are getting from them, so why put them in a position to get hurt?
2019 marks the 11th season for Matthew Stafford. The man has been in the NFL long enough that sitting during preseason games shouldn’t be a worry. He has always been diligent and intelligent in his training. At 31-years old, rest days should be expected as well.
Stafford is tough as nails and that has been proven time and time again. The man lives and breathes football and he has a phenomenal work ethic with excellent preparation, so maybe fans need to calm down just a notch about the days off and the lack of preseason reps.
You can believe that the Detroit Lions know what’s best for their players. If Stafford and company absolutely needed the reps, they would be on the field for the preseason. It’s hard to think that Detroit isn’t happy with Stafford’s transition into this new offense, otherwise, he would be playing. I find it more likely that Detroit is just being cautious.
Detroit saw Stafford play the 2018 season with an injury to his back and the effects were apparent. The Lions absolutely need Stafford on the field if they have any hope of being a competitor. Detroit cannot do it without him and they know it, we all know it. The Lions will not open a door of opportunity to injury if it’s not completely necessary.
Detroit will face the Buffalo Bills in their third preseason game on Friday, August 23rd. This is known as the dress rehearsal game. If Stafford is going to play a preseason game this offseason, this just might be the one, although head coach Matt Patricia was not quite ready to commit to Stafford playing against Buffalo when asked following the loss to Houston this past weekend.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what anyone thinks. Detroit has a plan and they are going to stick to it. Personally, I believe that the Lions have had not only a very good offseason but an extremely smart one as well. The starters all played in the preseason last year and then kicked off the season slow and tired.
The Detroit Lions will not make the same mistake this year. The starting line-up is being very well cared for in Detroit. Also, as I stated earlier, the Lions are getting additional time to evaluate other players and work with their depth guys. Keep calm and trust the process OnePride nation.