Sunday, September 13, 2009

Lions Disappointing, Stafford Needs To Be Held Accountable

It was a disappointing effort by the Lions in New Orleans Sunday. The only reason it wasn’t worse is because the Saints shot themselves in the foot a couple times with turnovers.
The Lions had way too many penalties. They didn’t run the ball well. Their defense was brutal. Drew Brees is a really good QB. Nobody is going to dispute that. But six touchdown passes? That is ridiculous. So is New Orleans getting 515 yards in offense.
Matthew Stafford wasn’t even mediocre. He missed several throws. He remains a turnover machine. Some will write that off to growing pains and correctable mistakes. Some of it is true. But it would be naive to think the untimely interceptions aren’t a long-term concern. Stafford had the same issue at Georgia and during the preseason.
If he doesn’t play better this week against Minnesota - especially when it comes to taking care of the ball - Lions coach Jim Schwartz should consider starting Daunte Culpepper in Week 3 vs. Washington. Accountability is an important factor. Understanding it is a key part of Stafford’s development. Perhaps the most important part.

Random Thoughts

- We’ll understand more about Tate Forcier’s moxie when he plays a big game on the road. But his poise is beyond impressive. He is way better than I thought. And I thought Forcier was pretty good.

- Didn’t seem like he had his best stuff Sunday, but Rick Porcello might have tossed the six most important innings by a Tigers’ pitcher this season.

- I think Notre Dame has a very good team and won’t lose more than three games this season. I believe the Fighting Irish will beat Michigan State Saturday.

- Brandon Minor is going to have a big season for Michigan. Didn’t realize he was capable of playing that type of physically dominating football. He was as good blocking as he was running the football Saturday against Notre Dame. He might be an NFL player.

- Central’s upset of Michigan State aside, Northwestern had to hang on against Eastern Michigan and Indiana against Western Michigan. Is the Big Ten that bad or is the MAC that underrated?

- Hey, doesn’t seem like such a big deal these days that Michigan didn’t land Terrelle Pryor.

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21 Comments:

Blogger Larry Baker said...

Great post from top to bottom. If Tigers manage attain (stumble into?) playoffs, keeping Porcello in majors for the duration this season, may have been brain trust's best decision. Remember how many fans opposed it?

5:56 PM 
Blogger Chris said...

Pat, you sound like Stafford has been in the league for 2 years now and it's time for him to go. If not for a bad call, he would of had a TD throw to Calvin Johnson and I wouldn't exactly call going into NOLA an easy place to play your first game. Considering the offense put up 27 points (could have easily been 31 if not for Loper's penalty), I can't fault them too much. Sure, Stafford had 3 picks, but it was his first game against a real NFL defense and he will only get better in his decision making as the games go on.

The problem with the Lions is the defense, not Stafford.

7:48 PM 
Blogger Scott said...

Pat,

I couldn't disagree with you more on Stafford. Yes, he played like a rookie. No way do you bench him after two games. He is the future of the team, no way you can make a judgement on him after two games. Plenty of star quarterbacks had brutal rookie seasons. The Lions have to find out if he can play this year.

8:13 PM 
Anonymous Hollis Keys said...

Everyone was screaming for the QB who threw the ball downfield. Well this is the Matt Stafford that I saw at Georgia for 3 years-bad throws and forced ones. He is what he is until he learns to read defenses-something he never fully acquired at Georgia either-he was pushed into something he wasn't ready for-not his fault-from the day he was announced as the starter this was a loss-at least we don't have Reggie Bush!

1:05 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I watched the ND vs. UofM game and i agree that Forcier looked pretty good, but did anyone listen to Matt Millen make the statement that this guy is a young Joe Montana. hahaha, Millen is just unbelievable.

8:55 AM 
Blogger Chris said...

Pat Caputo is an idiot when it comes to football and is about as qualified to talk or write about it, as much as he does NASCAR.

Matt Stafford is a rookie, who played like a rookie, who plays behind THE WORST offensive line in the game. Anyone see Jay Cuttler’s & Aaron Roger’s passes in the first half of last night’s game?? When they were 'rushed' to throw the ball, they were terrible. Same with Stafford. He will improve with time, and when he gets a few pieces added around him (LT, RG, C) he will be fine.

There are a few other rookie quarterbacks that went to terrible teams and had rough starts to their careers. But they became successful in time -

Peyton Manning’s Rookie Season - The Colts lost many close games, including five games in which they had led by double-digits at some point, and finished 3–13 in his first season. OH! And he led the league in interceptions.

Troy Aikman finished his rookie season with an 0-11 record as a starter, completing 155 of 293 passes for 1,749 yards, 9 TDs, 18 INTs.

Steve Young's record as starter was 3–16 before he went to the 49’ers. In 19 games as a starter, he threw for only 11 touchdowns with 21 interceptions while completing fewer than 55% of his passes.

There are three games on the Lions schedule I believe they can and will win. Other than that, its going to be another tough season for us fans. But it’s not Jim Schwartz, Matt Stafford or even one of the coordinators fault. This is from eight years of erosion under Millen, where he drafted poorly and brought in the wrong players.

This will get better. It’s going to take about 6 years before the Lions are competing for playoffs and fully recovered from Millens time in Detroit. Have patience, faith, & tolerance. Jim Schwartz and Matt Stafford have a lot to overcome, and none of their own doing. Please don’t bash them in the media Caputo. Especially when you have no clue.

Chris

10:47 AM 
Anonymous Joey I. said...

Pat, you don't pull the plug on Stafford after two games. Yes he made mistakes, but what I saw on Sunday was a lions QB that had some confidence in the pocket. I think the play calling was too conservative and Stafford didn't have a far chance to throw the long ball.

This team is bad and we can begin to list many issues. The one issue that shouldn't be talked about is a QB. Culpepper wasn't the answer for the Vikings and he's not the answer for the Lions at this time.

12:50 PM 
Anonymous Jeff said...

The Lions are completely irrelevant. Ya'll should spend your time worrying about important things.

1:34 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chris,

I would be careful about using the term "idiot" based on the points you make. First of all you are using Aikman, Young, and Manning as examples. These are 3 hall of fame caliber players who were FAR more consistent as college players. How about the dozens upon dozens of QB's that were high picks, played in lousy organizations that never amounted to didly (i.e. akili smith, tim couch, david klingler, david carr, alex smith, andre ware, jamarcus russel, ryan leaf, etc. etc. etc.). Far more of these guys have failed than become HOF's. Stafford has amazing talent which anyone can see, but in college he never displayed the consistency of the guys you mentioned. I watched him in the bowl game vs MSU last year and in the 1st half this guy looked like a total bum, followed by a brilliant 2nd half performance. Secondly, the salary cap system in the NFL creates parity. With that being said, it allows poor teams to turn things around in a relatively fast manner (i.e. last years cardinals, the superbowl champion Rams and the '01 Patriots). The NFL is not like baseball where you develop you farm system and hope guys blossom 6 years down the road. With the salary cap, it is imperative the progress happen far more rapidly. I just read a book on Belechik and it explains his system of evaluating players based on what their contribution will be versus what the cost will be to the cap. At Stafford's price tag, it is imperative that produces sooner rather than later, as his figure costs them money they can spend in other areas to strengthen the team. Lastly, back to the give them 6 years. I've been waiting my whole life for them to do something of merit as an organization. How in the world are we as fans supposed to just sit on our hands, be patient and say "they'll get it done". Based soley on past history, the lions do not merit this faith from me or anyone who has common sense.

I hope the guy works out, but there is nothing wrong with people demanding a standard of excellence from the guy. The Lions have lost too many consecutive games in a league of parity. How in God's name does a guy throw 4Int's and then you call a guy an "idiot" for questioning his performance? For all you know he'll be Jeff George (w/out the attitude) instead of Troy Aikman.

Keep up the good work Pat.

lil rob

1:49 PM 
Blogger Chris said...

I was referring to the Lions organization as a whole, not the QB. Stafford will progress this year, but the TEAM will take 6 years (in my estimation) to become a consistent threat for the playoffs.

The issue I take with his article is we should not point the finger at Stafford or Schwartz. 8 years of poor drafting by an organization will not be made up in one off-season & by drafting a QB No. 1 overall. I also wanted to point out the fact that most quarter backs have rough outings their first game (and first season for that matter) then go on to become Hall of Famers. Time prohibits me from listing them all. I simply do not feel it’s appropriate to call for his replacement (after the second game) if he does not perform up to the editors opinion.

The fact of the matter is the Lions would have a tough season with anyone behind center, given the offensive line, and will continue to struggle to win games with our current roster of defensive players. That is what’s going to take many years to correct.
I cannot speak for all of the QBs you listed, however I know Tim Couch and David Carr did not have a good line to protect them. And we see the results.......

3:25 PM 
Anonymous Michael C said...

You seem to contradict yourself here, Pat. Last week you were saying that Matthew Stafford should start because as Payton Manning says you don't learn anything on the bench. You also pointed out how badly Manning struggled in his first bunch of games.

Then Stafford has a bad week one and all of a sudden you're saying he should be taken out if he struggles again in game 2? Huh?!

As I said here before the decision was made I'd have started Culpepper because I didn't feel Stafford was ready and once you start Stafford its near impossible to take him out without damaging his confidence (like with Leinart and Young). I stand by that. Its too late to change how Stafford will be played, imo.

I think you just have to let Stafford struggle and learn and hopefully keep improving. Manning threw 28 INTs his rookie year. Stafford may match that or worse. But if Stafford shows the kind of improvement that Manning showed his second year I think we'd all be able to overlook his struggles this year.

8:30 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Larry Baker,
Yeah, they were judging Porcello on radar gun readings rather than the sink on his two-seam fastball.
Caputo

9:57 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Chris,
That is not true. It's understood it's a rookie, but the lesson the Lions never seem to learn is that you can't play somebody for reasons other than their performance. He was good Sunday.
Caputo

9:58 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Scott,
Accountability is important. If benched, it would be part of the learning process. You can't have somebody play QB in the NFL that doesn't take care of the ball. If Stafford doesn't learn that soon, they need to considering him until he does.
Caputo

10:01 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Hollis Keys,
Honestly, that wasn't the Matt Stafford from Georgia. He missed four or five he should have made in his sleep.
Caputo

10:02 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Joey L,
I'm not talking about pulling the plug on him. I'm saying if he doesn't make progress and keeps missing throws, you go to somebody else - especially when Culpepper played well in preseason. If he gets benched, it's not the end of his career. It's not releasing. It'd be holding him accountable.
Caputo

10:22 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Joey,
Can't help it. Addicted to football.
Caputo

10:23 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Lil Rob,
Thanks. You make great points.
Caputo

10:23 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Michael C,
I'm not contradicting anything. I do believe he will learn more by playing. But you can't play somebody when they are performing so poorly you can't justify their playing. His performance in the opener was subpar. They put him in position to make plays. He just didn't do it.
Caputo

10:28 PM 
Anonymous Michael C said...

But Pat, the quickest way for the Lions to become competitive again is for Stafford to (eventually) develop into a star QB.

So if playing him now gives him the best chance of developing into a star (as you yourself say) then that's what they're going to do. (And should do)

Because of the amount of money invested in him doing what's best for Stafford's future is the same thing as doing what's best for the Lions future.

1:21 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Michael C,
That doesn't mean you sit him out the rest of the year. You create competition at the quarterback position. It'd be a good thing. Lions have never had success when they just handed the spot to a QB. Best success has been they've had competition.
Caputo

12:04 PM 

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