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Stafford Named Starter - Choice Wreaks of William Clay Ford

Look back at other quarterbacks who started in their rookie season. What do they all have in common? None of them had a decent veteran quarterback for the coach to have put in ahead of them.

Look back at the history of rookie quarterbacks who came out of college early. They usually fail.

What do Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco and other rookie quarterbacks who have succeeded have in common? They each had a good running game to keep defenses honest. They each have had good offensive lines to protect them.

Now let us look at Matthew Stafford's situation as the rookie quarterback for the Detroit Lions....

Although the Lions running game has looked good in the preseason, remember, it is just preseason. It has been years since the Lions have shown any real semblance of a running game to make defenses honest. Sure Kevin Smith looked good last year, but he did not put fear into any defense. They do not fear that he has the speed to break the long ones, so they set up to stop the pass more and blitz the quarterback. That is a huge mark against Stafford being successful.

Pass protection... Laughable. For the most part, this same offensive line has given up over 50 sacks for three seasons in a row. In the last game, they broke down completely twice in the first half alone, allowing Stafford to be sacked hard both times. If they do that four times a game, that will be a pace of 64 sacks aloud. Not only is this a huge mark against Stafford being successful, it could ruin him.

Veteran quarterback ahead of him.... Culpepper. In the preseason, Daunte Culpepper completed 22 of 34 passes (64.7%) for 194 yards. He threw 1 touchdown and had no interceptions and was sacked only once. Culpepper has a history of throwing for over 4000 yards when he had a top receiver to throw to and is in great shape this year.

Rookie, Matthew Stafford completed 30 of 55 passes (54.5%) for 389 yards. He threw one touchdown and had three interceptions and was sacked 3 times.

Culpepper's 89.6 QB rating is far better than Stafford's 52.8 rating. The veteran Daunte Culpepper has looked by far the better, more sure, most accurate and game manager of the two quarterbacks.

Back in April, most of the fans wanted either the offensive lineman, Jason Smith or linebacker Aaron Curry. Most all of those fans would have been happy with either of the two over Stafford. They understood that cliches have a lot of truth to them. "Defense wins championships" for one and the other... "The games are won in the trenches". Both cliches are very popular for a reason. They are true. The fans finally understood this and when the Lions ignored a plea from Curry that he would play for less money and instead selected Matthew Stafford again, another cliche came to life. "Ford loves the sexy pick to sell tickets."

All preseason long, the Lions have had a quarterback battle going. Schwartz has said it over and over. He will play the quarterback that gives him the best chance to win. He will play the better of the two. Anyone who watched the games and the stats, could see that Culpepper was the obvious better of the two. He out played Stafford and didn't make mistakes. Culpepper would obviously give the Lions a better chance to win. So can someone please explain why the rookie, Matthew Stafford was selected to start the 2009 season?

The answer is just as obvious. "For loves the sexy pick." Ford does not know a football from the bulging tip of his nose. Ford would not know what a winning NFL game plan was if he found himself wiping with one. What Ford does know however, is business, and that is all the Detroit Lions are to him. A business! He cares not for winning. At least not nearly as much as he does for filling seats, and Ford knows that the exciting quarterback will fill the seats early on. What he does not know is that when that rookie starts losing, those seats wont stay filled. But Ford also knows the fans (not all of them but most of them. Enough anyway) are stupid enough to fall for this long enough that next year he can make another sexy pick and fill the seats again. Just like he did when he selected the high profile offensive player over the great defensive player or offensive lineman for the last decade.

The choice of Stafford over Culpepper simply wreaks of the Ford decision. It is not about winning. It is about selling tickets. It is about filling seats now because the season is only 16 weeks long and the now will last that long. if the Detroit Lions main objective was to erase the putrid scent of the 0-16 season, they would want to win more games. That would call for the veteran to play. That is NOT what William Clay Ford cares about though. He wants to fill seats far more than he wants to win. So the high profile "sexy" choice of the rookie quarterback is chosen in stead.

When will Ford finally learn that a winning product would fill the seats and sell more merchandise than any one rookie ever would?

1 comment:

  1. I found this blog from mlive. I am in agreement with this article. The issue at hand is WCF. He reminds me of Al Davis. Both guys are old owners with outdated views. The difference is that Al wants to win, WCF only wants to sell tickets. This team is treated like a side business for which the Fords have little passion.

    As for Stafford, I fear we've seen how this story ends a few times before. He's going to work hard and play even harder but as with David Carr, Alex Smith and so many QB's we fielded in the past, the beatings take an affect. I hope things work out differently for Stafford for the sake of the franchise. But until there is a commitment from ownership to build a championship caliber ball club, Lions fans will continue being teased with the promise of dazzling play while agonizing over the lack of substance in the trenches or on defense.