It’s report card time! How do the Detroit Lions grade out at the midway point of the 2019 season? Check out or position-by-position evaluations.
Eight games into 2019, the Detroit Lions sit at a disappointing 3-4-1. In head coach Matt Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn’s second season together at the helm, they have made some improvements after a rough 2018, though they have also taken some troubling steps backward.
In the brutal NFC North, the Lions currently sit in third place, after some solid wins and too many disheartening losses. What’s caused the inconsistency? Who’s exceeded expectations? Who’s not making the grade? Here are our positional midterm report cards:
Matthew Stafford is having one of the best years of his career, and it may end up being his finest by the end of December. Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell’s scheme plays well to his strengths: pushing the ball downfield on early downs, hunting for big plays instead of multiple moderate gains and using his athletic receivers in jump ball situations. He is on pace to finish just shy of 5,000 passing yards and 40 touchdown passes.
It’s a far cry from last year’s forgettable campaign when he battled a back injury and watched his offensive playmakers disappear from the lineup seemingly on a weekly basis. He has been afforded slightly improved pass protection and has avoided poor throws with only five interceptions. Few of those have been on bad throws including a late, inconsequential heave against the Minnesota Vikings and a great one-handed play by Oakland Raiders corner Daryl Worley.
Stafford lost a clumsy fumble against the Kansas City Chiefs at the opposing 5-yard line which proved to be a turning point in that game and failed to convert on several red zone opportunities against the Green Bay Packers, so he’s been far from perfect.
Still, he is playing as well as he ever has in his eleven NFL seasons, despite the perpetual absence of a competent running game. Stafford is as loyal as they come, but one has to wonder how many more seasons of strong play by No. 9 will be wasted in Detroit before he wants out.