Matt Stafford was selected with the number one pick in the 2009 draft and has received mostly criticism from NFL fans around the league. Stafford inherited an 0-16 team that seemingly had no direction. With holes at pretty much every single position, Stafford had his work cut out for him. Stafford, had all of the pressure of a number one overall pick, and struggled his rookie year and only played three games in his second year.
Many Lions fans thought that their curse of putrid talent and garbage fire management was in full swing, but then 2011 rolled around. The Lions went from 6-10 to 10-6 and went to the playoffs and faced the Saints. They would lose to these Saints, but Stafford finally looked like the quarterback that the Detroit Lions needed to make a deep threat at a playoff run. He threw for 5038 yards, 41 touchdowns and 16 interceptions on a 63.5% completion rate. Stafford’s stats were indeed elite, but he STILL did not receive much love from NFL experts. Bleacher Report only ranked Stafford 11th out of quarterbacks for that season. Currently Stafford and his Lions has made the playoffs 2 of his last 3 years, but he never gets brought up in the conversation of elite NFL quarterbacks.
Stafford inherited the worst team in NFL history, and has brought them into playoff contention, but he still does not get any credit. NFL fans need to keep aware of Stafford’s success when ranking him among the league’s quarterbacks.
Detroit has constantly been a city that has struggling putting a consistently decent eleven men on the defensive side of the ball. The Lions in 2015 had the 22nd best defense, in 2012 27th, and 2011 23rd, these numbers make Stafford’s job very difficult considering his lackluster defenses. A constant in Stafford’s career has been Calvin Johnson, his presence caused every defense the Lions played to double team him. 2017 was Stafford’s first year without Megatron, and he brought the Lions to the playoffs, and was considered a MVP candidate up until his finger injury.
This year Matt Stafford should be considered a dark horse to bring the MVP trophy to Detroit with a new beefed up offensive line with additions such as T.J. Lang, and Ricky Wagner. The Lions also have a healthy Ameer Abdullah, who is the featured back in Detroit, but Abdullah has taken setbacks due to injuries. The Lions running game has constantly been a struggle, but with Abdullah healthy and an improved offensive line, pressure can be taken off of Stafford, thus making him a less high volume quarterback. The Lions also needed a new weapon in the passing game, and they drafted Kenny Golladay in the third round, who is expected to make an immediate impact. A last must for Stafford to improve as a quarterback if for Eric Ebron to develop and prove to be worth the 10th pick. Ebron so far has been nothing special for Detroit, and Detroit loves to use tight ends as weapons, so a breakout season from Eric Ebron could be what pushes the Lions over the hump, and give them the playoff win their fans has been craving for much too long.
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