Sunday, July 7, 2013

Jaws and Matthew Stafford

In a sort of "countdown" that perhaps former radio legend Casey Kasem would be proud of, Ron "Jaws" Jaworski has recently been ranking the current (projected) NFL starting quarterbacks on the 4-letter network.

He has Lions' QB Matthew Stafford rated at #16 -- pretty much smack dab in the middle of the pack. No doubt, some hard-core Lions' fans (and reporters) will scream foul, but Jaworski certainly appears to have done his homework. And let's not forget, Jaworski had a long career as a QB himself in the NFL. Before Brett Favre came along and put the record out of sight, Jaworski once held the mark for most consecutive games started by an NFL quarterback (both Mannings have since eclipsed his former record as well). He even made it to the Super Bowl once, before his Philadelphia Eagles succumbed to the Oakland Raiders -- but at least he GOT there. That's more than a lot of modern QBs can say these days, including Matthew Stafford. In short, Jaws has no axe to grind with anybody, and he certainly has the credentials to rate quarterbacks.

At that, Jaworski made some interesting points regarding Stafford. Yes, he has a strong arm, and yes, he's thrown for a lot of passing yards the last two seasons (over 5000 in 2011, and only a whisker shy at 4967 in 2012). But he's also led the NFL in passes attempted. That's likely due to the fact the Lions haven't had any semblance of a decent running game to compliment their passing attack. They HAVE to throw. It should have come as no great surprise that wide receiver superstar Calvin "Megatron" Johnson broke the all time record for most receiving yards in a year. When in doubt -- heave it in Calvin's direction. He'll go get it.

Jaws also pointed out that while Stafford was much more successful throwing the ball from the "shotgun" formation (roughly 83% of Lions' passing plays), he didn't fare nearly as well when he took the snap from under center on yet other passing plays. Further, Jaworski said (and showed tapes to back it up) Stafford had poor mechanics when it came to being a drop-back passer. Oftentimes Stafford could be seen as off balance, throwing off the wrong foot in desperation, appearing confused and/or panicky, and generally making bad decisions before cutting it loose into the defensive coverage that was going on downfield. Even a Megatron can't get them all. Hence, while Stafford has 80 career TD passes, he's also thrown 54 interceptions. This is not exactly a terrible ratio -- but it's hardly stellar either.

Matthew Stafford has four years of experience under his belt as a Detroit Lions' quarterback. His career QB rating stands at 82.8. Just about average.

Then again, he's never won a single playoff game, and his career record stands at a not-so-respectable 17-28.

Jaws had Stafford at #14 after the Lions posted a 10-6 record two years ago, before getting blown out by the New Orleans Saints in a playoff game. After the Lions went 4-12 last year, including losing their last 8 in a row, Stafford only dropped two spots to #16.

If anything, Jaworski was generous with his appraisal of the modern-day Georgia peach.

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