It’s week two of the Lions analysis/countdown to pre-season, and we move on to our first look at an offensive position group: the quarterbacks. To catch you up if you just missed a great quick take by Chris and Case on the most recent podcast, it is currently team breakdown season at detroitlionspodcast.com. In a slow news cycle there isn’t a lot to talk about, and hopefully our boredom breeds some halfway decent content that gets you fired up like a new Lions cheerleader after a gallon of vodka spiked Honolulu blue Kool-Aid for the 2016 season. If you missed us in the past I started off by slapping together some analysis on the Lions’ specialists, and my partner in this task Brandon Knapp fired out some hot takes on the defensive line. Look them up for us not because you have to, but because we as writers have a deep seated need for attention and you, our faithful audience, is the one thing filling the void. And with that lets move on to the…
Quarterback Group Analysis:
There has been a LOT said about starting quarterback Matthew Stafford over the last few weeks, including that said by the writers of this series, so I won’t go into detail on the analytics here. If you’re really thirsty for some deep stats go check out our articles on him to get your fix.
It’s certainly fair to say views of Stafford have been mixed over the course of his career, although I would hazard to suggest some of those more negative views have been rather unfair. Yes, Stafford is undeniably a gunslinger, and with that comes some unorthodox throwing motions, not properly setting the feet every time, and even a few more interceptions then you would like on occasion. What you also get with him however are some unbelievable plays that few others, if any, could make and arguably the strongest arm in the NFL. The detractors can say what they want, but I have failed to find anyone with truly compelling evidence to suggest that Stafford is not a franchise quarterback, and should not be one of, if not the highest paid player in the league come a few years time. Purely based on last years performance he is a top ten quarterback, and with another performance next season equal or better to last years, I strongly believe he should be guaranteed a place among the top 10 QB’s – period.
With a variety of projected offensive improvements, it will be very interesting to see if Stafford’s statistical production will improve or regress. It is my opinion that he will gain slightly on last year’s numbers, however overproduction would potentially suggest we suffered from key issues of last season: playing from behind and a poor run game. If we see more of the same from Stafford this season, expect the Lions to be a very competitive team in 2016.
2016 Projection: 4700 yards, 34 TDs, 68% completions, 13 INT’s
Ol’ Danny boy carries with him a lot of historical baggage in his several stays as backup quarterback in Detroit. None of us need to be reminded of his run out of the back of the end zone during an 0-16 season, an ultimate shining moment among various lowlights in his time on the field. In spite of this though he brings a ton of veteran knowledge to the backup position along with a very underrated trait among QB2’s: stability. Are we going to do as well with him in for an extended period if Stafford goes out? No, however there are very few teams that can make that claim. At the end of the day, he has the capability to be a decent short term spot starter and a placeholder at the backup position until a young player can be developed to take his place.
2016 projection: Makes the roster
It was interesting for roughly 2 days when the Lions drafted a quarterback in the late rounds of this years draft. People got super excited to make a Tom Brady comparison and then quickly realized Jake Rudock is not a comparable player to Tom Brady. I could go in depth for paragraphs with ponderings and projections about who Rudock will become at the NFL level but at this point that would be a complete waste of time. Jake Rudock is the definition of a complete shot in the dark. Potentially he develops into something interesting, potentially he falls out of the league quickly and quietly, no one really knows. Coming out of Ann Arbor he’s a guy with a lot of raw skill and natural ability with some shortcomings in the arm strength department. I honestly do not believe this is a player that makes the roster this season, however with the level of improvement he’s made over a short period of time since he transferred from Iowa and learned under John Harbaugh, it will be interesting to see what his ceiling is a few years down the road. Let’s let him go through the rookie learning curve and lets see what we have in training camp next year.
2016 projection: Practice squad