Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford is having a fine year, with 4,006 yards through 13 games, but his numbers are down from his breakout 2011 season, and the Lions have taken a big step backward as a team. So does that make Stafford’s 2012 a disappointment?
Not according to Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, who says he believes that through four NFL seasons, Stafford looks like he’s on his way to being mentioned alongside Peyton Manning as one of the finest passers the NFL has ever seen.
“I don’t know where Peyton was after four years, but I think Matt’s definitely on track to be one of the best quarterbacks to ever play this position,” Linehan said, via MLive.com. “We’ll see when it’s all said and done, but he’s really taken a lot on. We put a lot on him as well.”
Stafford is still just 24 years old, so the fact that he already has 11,846 career passing yards and 77 touchdowns is impressive. But Linehan acknowledges that Stafford will have to lead the Lions to the playoffs consistently before anyone is mentioning Stafford alongside Manning.
“I mean, he’s not going to be mentioned in that category yet until we put together two or three seasons like we did last year in a row,” Linehan said.
Actually, if Stafford is going to be mentioned alongside Manning, he’s going to need a lot more than two or three seasons like last year, when the Lions lost in the wild card round of the playoffs. To be mentioned alongside Manning, Stafford is going to need to take the Lions to the Super Bowl.