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Ndamukong Suh's Sack List
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Matthew Stafford Should Break Out For Detroit Lions

In his first two seasons in the NFL, Detroit Lions, Matthew Stafford has had his share of injuries. In fact, he has played in only 13 games and has missed 19 others due to those injuries. So there is good reasons for fans to be wary of him this year. Take some advice, this is the year to own him in fantasy football.

For the most part, his injuries have not been the type to say he is injury prone. His bones do not break easily and he does not tear ligaments or have concussions. His problem was that he dislocated his shoulder.

The problem with that injury is that once you dislocate your shoulder, it is always much easier to dislocate it again in the future. Stafford proved that as he dislocated his throwing shoulder a second time only two games after coming back. The common belief is that he was brought back too early. Not true! He was ready to come back when he did. It would not have mattered if he sat out another two seasons before coming back, he still could have dislocated it again on the first hit. Or the first time you fall on it wrong.

The good thing is there is a fix for that problem. It is called surgery. The doctor needs to go into the shoulder and clean things up. Tighten things up so the ligaments will not stretch out so much in the future. Matthew Stafford had this surgery. In the preseason game against the Patriots, Stafford took some good clean hard shots. One of them slammed him to the turf on that problematic shoulder. He got up and showed no ill signs.

I believe the dislocated shoulder is now behind him. Sam Bradford of the Rams had a similar surgery the year before he was drafted and he lasted all 16 games in his rookie season. I see no reason to believe that Stafford will not do the same. So the question now becomes more about how good he will be.

After all, after two seasons, Stafford already has less game experience than Bradford who was a rookie last year. So essentially, Stafford is still in his rookie season experience-wise.

First let us take a look at this years preseason. I know some fans do not like to look at preseason statistics. It is flawed, I know. He wont face the same teams. He hasn't faced defenses at full regular season game speed. Trust me, the points I am using the stats for are reasonable in this case.

Matthew Stafford completed 25 of 33 passes. That is almost 76% of his passes. What this shows is that the biggest question about him when he was drafted has been answered. He is now as accurate as any quarterback out there. Preseason or not, completing 75% of your passes is nothing less than superb.

They may have been safe passes. Screens, dumps and short slants. Which lends us to the next stat.

In the preseason, Stafford completed 8 passes for 20+ yards. He tied two others for the most 20+ yard passes and he had less attempts than they did and a higher completion% than they did. What this shows is that he was not playing it safe, but he was airing it out. Throwing the ball down field. Think about that. Almost one third of his completions were for 20 yards or more.

Another stat...

Stafford threw 5 touchdowns and did not throw even one pick. This shows he is reading the defenses very well and not being fooled.

Look at the entire picture. Matthew Stafford should finally stay healthy after having surgery to tighten everything up. He is far more accurate, willing to air it out, and does not make stupid mistakes. He has an offensive line in front of him that was the third best in the NFL for pass protection last year and one of the best group of receivers in the game. With Calvin Johnson, Nate Burleson, Brandon Pettigrew, Tony Scheffler, and Jahvid Best coming out of the backfield, defenses will be very hard pressed to keep everyone covered.

Then there is the run blocking of the offensive line... or the lack there of. This makes the Detroit Lions a pass first team. The coaches will be forced to lean on the pass in hopes of it opening up the running game.

The quality of Stafford's play, mixed with his vast arsenal of play-making receivers and the coaches needing to lean on the pass, makes Matthew Stafford a very strong candidate for a huge break out season. If you are playing fantasy football, you can get him late (unless you are in a league with other Lions fans), and he could possibly be the steal of the year.

The best point of all? He will not have Ndamukong Suh coming after him.

1 comment:

  1. Nice call on Stafford he is already the second best quarterback in the NFL north with only 13 games started. The thing he has going for him is that he's had three preseasons to learn the quarterback position. If the O-line can keep him upright I see a real good season out of him.