Thursday, January 01, 2009

Mixed Review On Matthew Stafford

It’s not like I haven’t seen Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford play before. I have seen him play several times before Thursday’s Capital One Bowl against Michigan State. It’s just I never have watched him before with such anticipation.
And I don’t what kind of line to get from him as the potential first overall pick in the upcoming in NFL Draft based on his performance.
He was dreadful in the first half. He played as if he was uninterested. In the second half, he made several brilliant throws. Two standout in particular: The one where he looked off the receiver to the outside and then gunned the ball over the middle, and his touchdown pass to Knowshon Moreno.
The first one was an example of his arm strength. The second was pure touch. Obviously, this kid is talented. He also comes from more of a pro style system than most college teams are running in this era of the spread option. Stafford isn’t a statue. He did show some speed when he scrambled.
NFL teams have to be concerned about his lack of consistency. Stafford seemed to mirror his season in a way Thursday. Hot or cold. Never in-between.
From what I have been able to ascertain, Stafford is going to be one of those quarterbacks teams either fall in love with and want among the first three overall picks, or he will drop like a stone - kind of like Brady Quinn. What that means for the Lions is they can go in another direction with the first overall pick and may still be presented with the possibility of Stafford being there with their with second first-round selection, which will probably be 20th overall.
One way or another, they must take a QB early in the draft. And it will be the most important selection they make.

Random Thoughts

- I do love the Winter Classic. Thought it was pulled off very well at Wrigley Field Thursday. It was actually a fairly fast-paced game - more so than the previous outdoor games. But it can’t be more than a once-a-year event. That’s what makes it special.

- First the Sharks, now the Blackhawks. The Red Wings are leaving little doubt they remain the premier team in hockey.

- The most underrated athlete in this town is Rodney Stuckey. He is the floor leader of the Pistons. Given the veteran presence on that team, and some of the strong wills, that says a lot for a second-year guard from a remote outpost like Eastern Washington.

16 Comments:

Blogger maddog52 said...

I tell you I wish to god we get tht linebacker from USC. what a beast. With that said I just think we have so many glaring needs that we could wait on a QB. Personally I think that we will be back at the top of the draft next year and should grab McCoy. I definately think we should grab an OT or go defense. We are so messed up that if we are even going to compete I think Orlovsky can go 1 more game.

I agree on the CLassic I loved it. Bob Costas though I just don't see him much of a hockey game. I think though 2 years running NHL Got something right.

ON Stuckey no doubt. I like his poise and his toughness. SOme guys just fit the mold of a team. Stuckey Fits the mold of a Piston.

9:55 AM 
Anonymous John in Oxford said...

Book -

We have so many needs on both sides of the ball - I just can't see taking a quarterback. Give me an offensive lineman with the first pick, then focus on defense with the rest of the draft. Taking a quarterback is just too "Millen" for me, if Mayhew really grasps the mistakes of the past, he'll stay away from quarterbacks and receivers.

3:58 PM 
Blogger Eric Chase said...

Pat - When will people learn that unless you're selecting a Peyton Manning, taking a QB so high isn't worth the risk. Especially without the insurance around him to protect the investment.

Chad Pennington has zero appealing talents as a QB other than he doesn't turn the ball over; do you think he finishes 2nd in the MVP voting without Jake Long playing to his left?

Does Kerry Collins relive the glory of 2000 behind less of an offensive line?

Does Eli Manning have such a consistent year behind less of a line?

A great offensive line protects the QB, opens holes for RBs and controls the clock, thus keeping your defense off the field and fresh.

Here are the top ten NFL offenses when it comes to sacks allowed...

Denver, Tenn, New Orleans, Indy, Atl, Car, Phi, Cle, SD, Mia.

7 playoff teams and NINE fine seasons from the QB position.

If you want to take the most NFL ready college QB (Sanchez or Stafford) and stick him behind the Lions offensive line, you're going to get another Joey Harrington.

One more thing, with the Lions reluctance to go after a premiere personnel guy and stick with the unproven - and Millen trained - Mayhew, I can't say that I see the Lions winning more than 5 games next year unless EVERY offseason move they make is the right one.

Pat - always great convo, all the best in 2009!

10:17 PM 
Anonymous clemma said...

The Lions better not blow the #1 pick on a QB. Even the 20th. We have greater needs and NFL teams always feel compelled to start highly-touted QB's that are drafted high and making a lot of money. As a result, they get rushed and some don't respond well (see Harrington, Joey). Also, a young QB on our team would be exposed with lousy protection.

Fix the O-Line and get some playmakers on Defense. I can live with Dan Orlovsky for another season, which will clearly be a rebuilding one.

Let's hope that Mayhew really means what he says about learning from the mistakes of the past and avoids blowing a 1st round pick on a QB.

9:55 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Maddog52,
I just don't see the Lions taking an inside linebacker with the first overall pick. I do believe they will take an inside linebacker later in the draft. Bob Costas is terrific at what he does, but it did seem weird with him as a hockey "expert."
Caputo

12:41 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

John in Oxford,
I agree with you that the Lions offensive line is not a strength, but it is less of a weakness than other areas. Defense and QB are, in my opinion, greater areas of concern. A lot of people agree with you, though.
Caputo

1:08 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Eric Chase,
I don't agree with you about the QB thing. No risk, no reward. Look at the Super Bowl champs going all the way back. With surprisingly rare exceptions, they had great QBs. Bradshaw, Aikman, Manning were among those who first overall picks in the draft.
Caputo

1:10 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

clemma,
I wouldn't take Stafford No. 1 overall, but how about Bradford? They need a QB badly. The draft is the best way to get one.
Caputo

1:12 PM 
Anonymous John in Oxford said...

Book,

Tell me you saw the Millen interview and, after hearing him say he would have fired himself, did not wonder aloud more than once "then why didn't you resign."

I thought it was hypocritical more than once, He could make excuses, but won't? Not quite possible when you have yourself and only yourself to blame for your failure professionally.

I thought it was awful.

John

8:37 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Book,
What comes first, the chicken or the egg? I'm down here in Atlanta and watched a terrible Falcons team last year. They draft a qb #1 and make the playoffs. They had basically the same squad except replaced Warrick Dunn with Michael Turner. Did the Offensive line morph into supermen overnight or was it Matt Ryan? I don't know. Everyone thought Harrington was a winner when the Lions drafted him. Bradford is money but with the Lions who knows? The safe bet is to build the interior line. You are right about stud qb's but the Lions are a backwards organization. Atlanta got it right because Arthur Blank is committed to winning and demands accountability, that is where it starts. Peyton Manning would not win with the Lions because the organizational culture is not committed to winning.

Alan

9:02 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

John in Oxford,
I'm addressing the interview in my column tommorrow. It was typical of Matt, though, saying he shouldered the blame, but then again never did. And you're right. Why didn't he resign?
Caputo

12:51 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Alan,
There are number of ways to look at the situation. I just know somebody has to play QB for the Lions. And if Manning were on the Lions, I think they would have won more games than you think.
Caputo

12:53 PM 
Anonymous John in Oxford said...

Book -

Looking forward to tomorrow's column, it sounds like we're similar in our thinking.

1:16 PM 
Blogger Scott said...

Pat,

Pistons-

What do you think of Richard Hamilton coming off of the bench when he returns from his injury?

Obviously Rodney Stuckey is really making a name for himself, and is doing a much better job as a floor leader than I think most people expected.

I don't care for the smaller line up starting because Rip, and Prince are playing out of their true positions. That unit just seems to have to much offense, and not enough defense. Not to mention the win streak the Pistons have put together with a more normal starting line up (whats called the big unit).

The more normal starting unit I believe is the way to go for this team. Not to say Rip isn't a true starter, but I think with this team he would fit better playing a "Vinnie Johnson" type role. It's better to start with what works, and in the middle of the game if Curry wants to go small he still has the option.

Based on how Richard Hamilton was in tears when his buddy Chauncy got traded, how he is always complaining to the ref's/getting technical fouls that cost the team games, and still living in the glory days of 2004 I think his mindset is he should be a starter, end of story. He needs to put the team before him and this will be interesting to see how this plays out in the near future....

3:16 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Alan,
They did draft a good offensive left tackle in Sam Baker - after the Lions took Gosder Cherilus - and it helped their offensive line a lot. They also had several premier players on defense already with Abraham, Brooking, etc.
Caputo

11:49 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Scott,
It might make sense the way the Pistons have played without him, but don't see them doing it for obvious reasons. It might make them consider trading him. But we'll see how this trip plays out. The Clippers were the layup in the group. The other places are very tough to win at. As you know, it would cause a firestorm to not start Hamilton.
Caputo

11:54 AM 

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