Schwartz vouches for Stafford

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In the offseason, the Lions gave quarterback Matthew Stafford a fat new contract.  As a result, they’re now stuck with him — no matter how poorly he plays in crunch time of key games.

On Monday night, Stafford threw a pair of fourth-quarter interceptions, dragging his passer rating in the final fifteen minutes of the last five games down to 29.5.  Before last night, Stafford had a fourth-quarter passer rating of 30.2 in the prior four games.

Still, coach Jim Schwartz (who soon may not be coaching Stafford or any other members of the team) vouches for the first overall pick in the 2009 draft.

I think he’s an accurate passer,” Schwartz told the media at his day-after press conference, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.  “Matt’s a very mechanically sound quarterback.”

Stafford wasn’t very accurate last night.  And if by “mechanically sound” Schwartz means, “He has a release point ranging from John Unitas to Kent Tekulve and all points in between,” then Stafford is indeed mechanically sound.

Two days after Cowboys coach Jason Garrett called out Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo for calling an audible at the worst possible time, it’s actually good that Schwartz has Stafford’s back.  Schwartz knows that, if the team is going to climb out of this funk and save Schwartz’s job, Stafford will be leading the way.

“I think we hold all our players to a high standard, but we also don’t publicly shame them,” Schwartz said Monday, in what possibly represents a backhanded slap from the Georgetown-educated coach at the Princeton alum who coaches in Dallas.

Regardless, the Lions are stuck with Stafford.  They became stuck with him when they extended his contract in order to drive down a sky-high 2013 cap number.  Including the guaranteed money he’ll earn under the extension, Stafford definitely will have earned nearly $100 million by the time the non-guaranteed portion of the latest contract kicks in.  (Which is likely the point Jon Gruden was trying to clumsily make last night when he referred to Stafford earning “$94 million guaranteed.”)

But what has the man who went to Bobby Layne’s high school really done to lift Layne’s curse on the Lions?  A yardage machine over the last three seasons, Stafford has posted a 24-35 record as a starter, with only one one-and-out playoff appearance.

Still, Stafford rarely gets criticized for failing to step up and lead the Lions to the kind of results their roster should generate.  Though he seems like a very nice guy, he doesn’t seem to hold teammates accountable, publicly or privately.

In 2012, Stafford tolerated a string of bad-character guys whose behavior conspired to throw the season off the tracks.  Earlier this year, when Super Bowl-winning tailback Reggie Bush thought a players-only meeting was needed, Stafford disagreed.

For all the criticism that Romo draws Stafford’s home state of Texas, Stafford consistently gets a pass in Michigan and beyond.  Maybe we don’t expect much from the Lions because, well, they’re just the Lions.  And maybe they’ll continue to be just the Lions until Stafford starts acting less like an undrafted quarterback from Eastern Illinois who has been living on house money and more like a No. 1 overall pick in the draft who expects himself and everyone around him to get the very most from their God-given skills and abilities.

83 responses to “Schwartz vouches for Stafford

  1. As much as stafford is to blame i’d like to think he’d have a considerably more amount of success if his team fired scott linehan and especially fire jim schwartz!

  2. 1/2 to 3/4 delivery, throwing off the back foot, one hand on the ball… won’t say a QB cannot be successful this way but its certainly not mechanically sound.

  3. I was at the game yesterday and almost puked multiple times watching the garbage being displayed on the field.

    Stafford is an “Elite” Arm strength QB and NOT an “Elite” intellectual QB. He will NEVER become a top 10 QB because of his inability to make EASY NFL throws.

    Also, this team is in complete shambles. Our Defensive Line is THE Single most overrated unit in the NFL. You have 3 top 15 draft picks invested in your Dline and they can’t even generate a consistent pass rush against a HORRIBLE Raven’s Offensive Line.

    I’m sick and tired of watching this team march out a crap product year after year.

    Schwartz needs to be fired. Mayhew needs to be fired. Linehan needs to be fired.

    This organization as a whole lacks accountability and could care less about their fan base.

  4. If fans think Stafford stinks, they should be forced watch the reruns of QB play in Buffalo the past 15 yrs

    Stafford would be on the Wall of Fame in buffalo with play much worse than last night

  5. …without Calvin Johnson, you could probably knock 10-15% off his completion percentage as well since Megatron continually saves him.

  6. The Romo – Stafford comparisons in Detroit are currently on heavy rotation in social media.

    I jumped on that bandwagon last night. Coaches need to go, and since Stafford is an average QB with a high quantity of attempts, maybe it’s time to move to more of a style of offense that doesn’t involve him having to force balls into WRs so much…

  7. Notice how Tomlin doesn’t need to vouch for Ben? It’s because he is consistently dependable in every type of situation. If God had a fantasy team, he would take Ben with his first pick.

  8. I wonder who will ever vouch for Schwartz?

    I honestly hope he is the Lions coach forever…all he does is make them suck.

  9. His mechanics are something that can easily be fixed. Get him a real coach and QB coach who will help him fix his flaws, also a coach that isn’t scared to give him an earful when he makes simple mistakes.

  10. Something to ponder on. Stafford is 24-35 as a starter in the NFL. Cam Newton is 23-23. It’s too early to dismiss Stafford. I believe that he can get better and reach his potential. However, it’s interesting that he does not get the type of backlash Newton gets despite having more weapons at his disposal.

  11. Stafford is not coached well. That is clear. With an offensive minded coach, he’ll be fine. Schwartz and Mayhew can hit the road. Mayhew has made some good picks, but Titus Young, Javhid Best and Ryan Broyles in the early rounds are just stupid picks that should not be forgiven. Also, being in the front office with Matt Millen should also not be forgotten.

  12. Those two interceptions got a me a fantasy football win over a complete Dbag I can’t stand.

    Thank you Matthew for only getting 5.5 fantasy football points last night. a .5 point win never felt so good.

  13. 2010: Trading up for Jahvid Best when multiple teams around the NFL took him off their draft boards because he suffered 2 severe concussions during his final season at Cal.

    2011: Drafting Titus Young and passing on WRs like Torrey Smith and Randall Cobb. Titus Young showed potential, yet the Lions decision to take a Highly flagged Character risk player backfired on them.

    Trading back into the 2nd round and selecting Mikel Leshoure, yet another character risk guy coming into the draft.

    2012: Selecting Ryan Broyles in the 2nd round over LaVonte David (possibly one of the best LBs in the NFL) when you have a HUGE hole at LB on your defense. Broyles with a torn ACL entering the draft has since torn his other ACL and blown out his achilles.

    Mayhew and Company have blown soooooo many high draft picks as well. I’m no NFL GM;however, I could have made better selections with such obvious and glaring holes on our roster.

  14. Can someone assess the Vikings playoff chances for me? I’ve heard/read all the other NFC North team’s scenarios. Can’t find any info on the Vikes.

  15. Stafford NEVER takes any criticism from the media, his failures are always masked by flashy (but meaningless) stats, and blame that lands everyhwere but on him.

    Ironically, meanwhile, someone like Cutler gets roasted every chance they get. Yet by comparison, Cutler actually LED the NFL in fourth-quarter passer rating last year (114.7) with 19 fourth-quarter comeback wins since 2007, behind only Peyton Manning and Matt Ryan (as the end of last season).

    That trend has continued this season, too:
    Consider Cutler’s 4th quarter performances/game winning drives to get the Bears off to their 3-0 start.

    Also consider last Sunday’s 3rd down play: He completed 11 of 12 third down passes for 151 yards and 2 TDs, passer rating on the crucial down was a perfect 158.3.

    And in the 4th quarter of Cutler’s big return debut last week? He led three scoring drives, completing 5-of-8 passes for 71 yards and a passer rating of 130.7.

    So far this season (as of this week), these are your league’s BEST 4th quarter QBs by QBR:

    1. Flynn 123.9 (well, he did just play Dallas)
    2. McCown 116.8
    3. JAY CUTLER 114.8
    4. Rodgers 107.3

    7. Romo 102.2

    18. Stafford 86.9

    So, while Cutler gets the most mocked in the media as an aloof under-performer, he actually plays his best ball when it counts the most (4th quarter, 3rd downs); it’s just a shame no one will give him credit for it…probably because they’re too busy still making excuses for Stafford.

  16. DonKellyBaby: If the Lions would put Suh on the outside instead of asking him to bull rush up the middle he would be in the backfield almost every time. That being said, how many times last night did Suh just push the center or guards into the backfield? Almost every play he was actually supposed to do it he did. Schwartz and the defense staff need to put him in a position to succeed. Suh isn’t a NT which is basically where he is lining up almost every play. In the gap between a guard and the center.

  17. Stafford is never going to the text book example of sound mechanics. But with motivation and good coaching he could definitely improve. The same can be said for the entire Lions team. Across the board you see guys who don’t seem fully committed, are undisciplined, or don’t really seem to know what they’re supposed to be doing from one play to the next. That’s all coaching. And the Lions are poorly coached.

  18. sdsmooth says: Dec 17, 2013 5:01 PM

    Can someone assess the Vikings playoff chances for me? I’ve heard/read all the other NFC North team’s scenarios. Can’t find any info on the Vikes.

    Not sure of all the details but I think they include the other NFC teams being abducted by aliens.

  19. From day one, Stafford has never shown the savvy to elevate above the upper echelons of mediocrity. Certainly, he has shown a dynamite arm and physical toughness but this is a sport where the best QBs have physical skills, high football IQ and a coaching staff that knows how to craft a system that maximize the QB’s best attributes and minimize his deficiencies. The Lions as an organization have failed Stafford as much as he has failed them. Arm angle and mechanics are not the main problem with Stafford. His problem is judgment and understanding the subtleties of every moment of any given game and what the role of the QB must be given the applicable circumstances. It’s called football IQ and Stafford ranks near the bottom of the league in this most important intangible. Schwartz’s failure to develop it adequately is reason enough for him to be terminated at season’s end.

  20. Strafford is the Andy Dalton of the Lions. Cant seem to change gears when the team is on the line. Good thing Cincy hasnt overpaid for their mediocre QB.

  21. You know, I also had a Lions beat writer talk about last year’s locker room discord, but other than Titus Young I don’t know who he meant. There are a lot of guys who were either released or left voluntarily this year–which of them do you mean? Williams? Vanden Bosch? Avril, who turned down a big offer and wound up taking less from Seattle? Durant? Peterman? Who were the bad apples?

  22. Um Stafford shouldn’t be held to the same standard as Romo. He’s younger and has less experience therefore I compare him to the Matt Ryan’s and Joe Flacco’s of the NFL. Romo has been in the league for a long time and gets compared to the Brady’s, Manning’s, etc. because of that.

    Stafford has been wildly inconsistent, which is exactly like Flacco and Luck and other young QBs. Romo, like Cutler, is also wildly inconsistent, but should be better given their veteran status.

  23. Stafford is a serviceable QB but Linnehan is a terrible player caller. Such a predictable offense. I’m sick of always being in Shotgun with 5 wide on all short yardage situations. Puts too much pressure on them.

  24. His coach is a loser… he gave up on his team yesterday, by walking off with 3 TOs.

    He quit on that whole city. I would have had his office packed for him, before that clock hit zeros.

    What’s the worse that could happen if he uses them? They lose?

  25. purpleguy says:
    Dec 17, 2013 5:34 PM

    The Vikings will win as many playoff games this year as the Bears, Lions and Packers combined.

    Your probably the same guy that said the Packers season was done at halftime in Dallas the other day too.

  26. thestrategyexpert says:
    Dec 17, 2013 5:15 PM

    He got no free pass from me. I don’t give endorsements to players that don’t earn them.
    And we all know how much weight your endorsements carry.

  27. Id trade him if they miss the playoffs. If the lions dont win the division this year, when will they ever win it with these guys?

  28. I was pulling for the Lions last night. Thought maybe they could break the spell and make the playoffs. Stafford has been a big money QB since he was a rookie, I can honestly other than improvement to offensive line I don’t see any improvement in him.

    He looks like a someone who has watched too many Brett Farve highlights to me. His coaches say his mechanics are sound, I don’t have an issue with the arm motions but get your feet set like a good QB when you throw. Two of those interceptions were because of that reason including the game ender. Calvin Johnson didn’t help him out last night with 3 big drops.

  29. This isnt rocket science…Can you realistically find somebody better than him? thats not to say that he is the best, but in most cases, can you replace him with somebody definitively better?

    I am thinking probably not….

  30. Brian Billick vouched for Kyle Boller. Means about the same for Schwartz. He will be gone. The team has been undisciplined for a few years now and a major collapse in the end this year will spell the end for Schwartz.

  31. First, anything that happens in Dallas gets hyped like nothing anywhere else. Frankly, I’m surprised that ESPN, the worldwide leader in hype, hasn’t relocated it’s headquarters into a huge complex on the grounds of Jerryworld.

    Second, Romo has been at it longer than Stafford. Stafford rightfully got a mulligan his first year because the Lions were historically bad. He missed most of his second year. In reality, this is only his third year where any sort of expectation was placed on him. Romo has been a starter for 8 years.

  32. Hey, Detroit, Dallas, Atlanta… here is how you do business.

    1. Tell em to go prove themselves.
    2. If they do pay them…
    3. If they don’t, send them to the Cleveland Browns.

    — Ozz, Ravens GM.

  33. Maybe if Stafford grew up and matured, he might realize that he is a very rich NFL quarterback, the leader of a professional football team. would stop wearing his hat backwards with a stupid grin like some wanna be gangster, his teammates and opponets might respect him a little bit. Even Romo stopped the gangsta look.

  34. Lions need an offensive-minded coach to lead this team who preaches discipline. Schwartz can’t and won’t do that. That’s why the Lions keep losing, unfortunately.

  35. Notice how the offense comes out on 3rd and short with shotgun-empty backfield, IN field goal range? When we pass so often and are very predictable its not the best recipe for success. Linehan has to go, if not Schwartz too.

  36. Who are the people calling Stafford a great qb? I certainly haven’t hear any of it. Even Gruden who has a hard on for everybody said he needs to be more consistent to be great.

    Cutler and Cam and whatever your teams QB is that “can’t get no respect” need not look Stafford’s way in envy just because he’s got one commercial on tv.

  37. Mccoy to SD showed that a offensive minded HC with a good O-coordinator (Whisenhunt) can fix a struggling offensive with a Talented QB (Rivers) , Fire schwartz get a offensive minded head coach that can turn stafford into Elite QB he was drafted to be then pay lovie smith watever he wants to be D coordinator and you can turn that team around.

  38. What an embarrassment of a team. When my Packers lost Rodgers, it left the door wide open for Detroit to take the division. They’re now 7-7.

  39. The guy is an average AT BEST qb. Most of his great stats are throwing jump balls up to CJ. He throws a good deep ball but struggles with all the rest of the passes and still cant read defenses like he should be able to after 4 years.

    Glad the lions over payed him so much, that way my team wont be tempted to saddle the team with a huge debt for a mediocre QB.

  40. Stafford wasn’t all that bad Monday night. Of course, when you throw a pick to end the game trailing by 2 points, it certainly doesn’t endear you to the fans. But he did engineer a drive to put them ahead, leaving very little time on the clock. The TD pass was perfect.
    If they want to point fingers in Detroit, why not start with a defense that allowed a 27 yard completion inside 2 minutes to set up the winning FG? Or, who gave up ground in huge chunks all afternoon between the 30’s enabling the Ravens to win the game without ever crossing the goal line?

  41. Romo North… Not saying neither are talented, but both QBs have top notch receivers. Easy to put up stats when your throwing to enormous catching machines that can no longer be punished in the middle of the field… Ravens win because they rarely turn the ball over. Less risk… Better to punt from your 40 than give the other team possession at your 40… 3 times

  42. Stafford lead 4 fourth quarter comebacks in 2011
    Minny, Dallas, Carolina and Oakland

    3 more in 2012 Rams, Philly and Seattle

    And 3 more this season
    Washington Cleveland and Dallas (again)

    “no matter how poorly he plays in crunch time of key games” Huh? what key games has Stafford ever had to play in so far in this league?

  43. On paper there are few teams with the breadth of talent Lions have, but they continue to under-achieve by losing their poise and composure. If teams take on the personality of their coach, then Schwartz will have to pay the price … but in the longer view, winning and losing start from the top. – and the common thread for decades has been the owner.

  44. All this talk about stafford being inconsistent is hogwash did he not the the go ahead td and Fischer kicked a 61 yard fh how is that him being inconsistent he put them in position to win yeah he throw side arm and off his back foot but at the end he always put them in position to win the game against the bucs he threw four int ( which three were tipped) he hit Calvin perfect inside the ten and Calvin was hit and the ball came out not because stafford mechanics were bad just a hit that jarred the ball loose, pit game he threw two but put them in fg range and they called a fake fg so to the stafford haters he keep us in the game no matter what

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