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Lions @ Bears: The Bevell Era begins

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Nobody tanks in the NFL. The whole concept of tanking is absurd and is something for fans to talk about who want a higher draft pick.

Personally, I prefer that they get as high a draft pick as possible but I'm not going to scream bloody murder if the team tries to win a game like that nutjob Valenti. I'd get being upset if it was a case of missing out on Lawrence but not at where the Lions could be drafting.

I do think that some form of tanking does exist in some sports, particularly the NBA where bad teams build primarily with young players but that just doesn't happen in the NFL. Careers are too short, so many jobs on the line including coaches to intentionally field a bad team. Teams that lose are just bad or have a lot of bad luck as the margins are razor thin in the NFL between wins and losses. Even a historically bad team like the Jets are a whisker away from winning 3-4 games. The Lions could have easily had 6-7 wins last year even without Stafford. Nobody tanks purposely in the NFL.

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12 hours ago, RandyMarsh said:

It is crazy the amount of 1st round qb busts that there have been the past 5-10 years.  There's obviously always been busts but I don't remember there ever being  at the rate that there is of late.  

 Perhaps it just seems that way to me and its not actually any worse than before but if it is indeed true I wonder why that is? You'd think with all the advanced scouting and stats it would be easier to weed out the potential busts. 

Here's a list of 1st round QBs since 2010.

2010: Bradford Tebow

2011: Newton, Locker, Gabbert, Ponder

2012: Luck, Griffin, Tannehill

2013: EJ Manuel

2014: Bortles, Manziel, Bridgewater

2015: Winston, Mariota

2016: Goff, Wentz, Lynch

2017: Trubisky, Mahomes, Watson

2018: Mayfield, Darnold, Allen, Rosen, Jackson

2019: Murray, Jones, Haskins

That's just insane to me the amount of busts there.   Newton had a relatively short prime but he was great as his peak so can't call him a disappointment, same with Luck.    Guys like Goff and Wentz have had their moments but neither has shown to be a real franchise QB.   

I'm gonna give the benefit of the doubt to Mayfield, Jackson(was obviously superb last year but just so so this year), Allen and Murray and say that they will be franchise QBs even though their sample is pretty small.   So out of the 29 QBs so far only 8 have really been top tier QBs at any point(and that's giving those 4 the benefit of the doubt), if you take them away then all your left with is Newton, Luck, Mahomes and Watson.(another small sample guy)    That's just nuts to me how low the hit rate has been on them this decade.   

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Seeing that list makes me want to keep Stafford even more. The jury is still out on some of the new guys, but not many I would take over Stafford. Luck and Stafford had a remarkably similar career. Newton had a good year in 2015 but Stafford has put up equal or better numbers. I can't help but think if the Lions had the 6th ranked defense and 2nd ranked rushing attack how many games they would have won? 

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15 hours ago, Buddha said:

stafford is not the problem with this team.  replacing him with tua or darnold or rosen or haskins is not the solution you always claim it will be.

Stafford is most certainly part of the problem over the years. You can't be paid like one of the top 5 or 6 QBs and feast on the weak defenses only to lay an egg against the better defenses in the league. That's Matt Stafford. You can count on him to have good/great games against bad defenses and bad/terrible games against good teams. You'll never go anywhere if you pay a QB top tier money when they can't step it up against top defenses. 

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Stafford is 33, has two years left on his contract and the Lions are nowhere close to being a contender. Do you want to build around Stafford at this point? Doesn't make sense to me. 

I think they should keep him next season but they have to start looking at the future QB now whether it be this draft or the next. It's a ridiculous argument to shy away from taking a 1st round QB because there's been some busts in the past. Might as well never take one with a high pick then and hope for the best with a later round QB or trade for a broken Wentz or something like that.

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16 minutes ago, NYLion said:

Stafford is 33, has two years left on his contract and the Lions are nowhere close to being a contender. Do you want to build around Stafford at this point? Doesn't make sense to me. 

I think they should keep him next season but they have to start looking at the future QB now whether it be this draft or the next. It's a ridiculous argument to shy away from taking a 1st round QB because there's been some busts in the past. Might as well never take one with a high pick then and hope for the best with a later round QB or trade for a broken Wentz or something like that.

I have no problem drafting a QB replacement but looking at recent history it seems the QBs that have panned out were drafted on teams that already had talent around them.  Like Mahomes, Jackson, Watson,  Goff(when he was good) and Wentz.(see Goff)   Perhaps the team would be better served building up the rest of the team first?   Staff is 32, that's not exactly ancient by NFL QBs standards.  Tannehill just got a 4/120 deal and he's the same age as Stafford,  as is Russell Wilson and Kirk Cousins.   And of course we know about the guys like Rodgers, Brees, Brady, Rivers and Roethlisberger who are all several years older than him.

With that said, I wouldn't be against drafting a potential replacement but I don't necessarily think we have to at this point either.    I would be completely fine with keeping Staff for 2 years and drafting his replacement then after hopefully we put together a better supporting cast.  

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30 minutes ago, NYLion said:

Stafford is 33, has two years left on his contract and the Lions are nowhere close to being a contender. Do you want to build around Stafford at this point? Doesn't make sense to me. 

I think they should keep him next season but they have to start looking at the future QB now whether it be this draft or the next. It's a ridiculous argument to shy away from taking a 1st round QB because there's been some busts in the past. Might as well never take one with a high pick then and hope for the best with a later round QB or trade for a broken Wentz or something like that.

The Lions are one dropped pass from being tied for the final playoff spot. I think they are closer than you think. They have good offensive pieces but the defense needs an overall. The NFL isn't like MLB where you have to draft and develop players in your minor leagues before the team becomes competitive. A good draft can turn a team around. A couple impact players on defense and the team is ready to contend. I don't draft a QB with a high pick unless I have to. Not wasting a 1st round pick on the 4th best QB in the draft if I can get a starter on defense. Every draft has QBs that we must take. If you draft a starter on defense this year that's one less issue you have to worry about for your next QB. 

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2 hours ago, Motown Bombers said:

Matthew Stafford just this season beat the top passing defense in the NFL. 

So one win is now representative of a career's worth of statistics? 

I haven't updated the numbers to reflect this season yet, but from 2011-2019 (discounting Stafford's first two seasons lost to injury) he is 18-45 against defenses ranked in the top 15 of Football Outsiders Defensive Efficiency metric. The team played a total of 63 games against top 15 defensive opponents over that time period.

His average QBR, in 62 games played against top 15 ranked defenses is 50.74 QBR. His average completion% is 61.05%. He's thrown for 94 TD's and 58 INT's. He has a TD to INT ratio averaging approximately 1.62 TD's (per game) to .62 INT's (per game). The TD to INT ratio isn't really that bad, but the TD's per game average, QBR and completion % don't exactly scream success story.

Again, he feasts on the weak and then meltdowns against defenses above the average line. Not to mention he's more than 10 years into the league and we still see him making boneheaded decisions with the football and almost rookie-level mistakes too often. I could get into the Joe Lombardi comments as well, but that borders on hearsay and sour grapes on Lombradi's part, so I'll leave that alone.

It is to be expected that a QB will play worse/slightly worse against a better quality defense but this is a sizable drop. Which would be fine if he were winning games and/or he wasn't taking up a 15%+ cap hit as he has in the past. There are worse QBs, managing games, and achieving more because their teams can go spend on other free agents in the meantime. When you pay QB's a big contract and have them take up such a significant portion of your cap space they better deliver on that contract with something tangible at some point, I don't feel Stafford has. I am also well aware that football is a team sport and one player can't make the difference by themselves, but at some point, somewhere in your career, you've got to win something of significance, no?

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1 hour ago, Motown Bombers said:

The Lions are one dropped pass from being tied for the final playoff spot. I think they are closer than you think. They have good offensive pieces but the defense needs an overall. The NFL isn't like MLB where you have to draft and develop players in your minor leagues before the team becomes competitive. A good draft can turn a team around. A couple impact players on defense and the team is ready to contend. I don't draft a QB with a high pick unless I have to. Not wasting a 1st round pick on the 4th best QB in the draft if I can get a starter on defense. Every draft has QBs that we must take. If you draft a starter on defense this year that's one less issue you have to worry about for your next QB. 

They're far away from being a real contender IMO, they've been blown out by good teams and barely scraping by awful teams. They are near the bottom of the league in every defensive statistical category, they still have one of the worst running games in the league and the passing game has been middle of the road most of the season although Golloday being out didn't help matters.

This is a bad team with a lot of holes, not a lot of draft capital, not a lot of cap space and not many trade assets. The next GM is going to likely overhaul this roster and I don't think it's a good idea to build around a 33 year old QB who will likely be gone in 2 years, or retired. They haven't won in over a decade with Stafford (not all his fault but it is what it is) so at some point they just need to recognize that it's not going to work, cut bait and start fresh for the sake of both parties. He's much better off with a contender like the 49ers, Saints or Steelers (depending on Big Ben and Brees) that have great supporting casts and need that one player to put them over the top

I'm not saying that they HAVE TO take a QB in the 1st round this year but it should be heavily considered. All the top teams over the years have one thing in common, they are led by a franchise QB that they drafted most of which were drafted early. 

 

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32 minutes ago, Mr.TaterSalad said:

So one win is now representative of a career's worth of statistics? 

I haven't updated the numbers to reflect this season yet, but from 2011-2019 (discounting Stafford's first two seasons lost to injury) he is 18-45 against defenses ranked in the top 15 of Football Outsiders Defensive Efficiency metric. The team played a total of 63 games against top 15 defensive opponents over that time period.

His average QBR, in 62 games played against top 15 ranked defenses is 50.74 QBR. His average completion% is 61.05%. He's thrown for 94 TD's and 58 INT's. He has a TD to INT ratio averaging approximately 1.62 TD's (per game) to .62 INT's (per game). The TD to INT ratio isn't really that bad, but the TD's per game average, QBR and completion % don't exactly scream success story.

Again, he feasts on the weak and then meltdowns against defenses above the average line. Not to mention he's more than 10 years into the league and we still see him making boneheaded decisions with the football and almost rookie-level mistakes too often. I could get into the Joe Lombardi comments as well, but that borders on hearsay and sour grapes on Lombradi's part, so I'll leave that alone.

It is to be expected that a QB will play worse/slightly worse against a better quality defense but this is a sizable drop. Which would be fine if he were winning games and/or he wasn't taking up a 15%+ cap hit as he has in the past. There are worse QBs, managing games, and achieving more because their teams can go spend on other free agents in the meantime. When you pay QB's a big contract and have them take up such a significant portion of your cap space they better deliver on that contract with something tangible at some point, I don't feel Stafford has. I am also well aware that football is a team sport and one player can't make the difference by themselves, but at some point, somewhere in your career, you've got to win something of significance, no?

 I would genuinely be curious how most QBs numbers look against top 15 defenses.   Also in Stafford's defense hardly any QB in football has ever had the deck stacked against him like Stafford has.   The past 6 seasons he has not played with a single player elected to the Pro Bowler, not as an alternate but actually elected.    

On top of that only once in his entire career has he played for a defense that ranked in the top 15, and that year they just so happen to finish 11-5.   Only once in his career has he ever played for a team that was in the top 20 in rushing.

So with the exception of 1 season every single year he has played for a team with a bottom 3rd defense, bottom 3rd rushing game and with the exception of Calvin Johnson he has never played with a single pro bowl player on offense.   On top of that it's not like he has played with these offensive gurus for coaches, every OC he has ever worked for has amounted to nothing since leaving the Lions.  No coach he has ever played for has ever gotten an equal or better job to what they had when they were here.     

How many QBs could succeed in a situation like that?  

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I think it was during a recent game when they mentioned Stafford played the same number of games as Barry Sanders. Sanders had something like 75 games of 100 yards or more rushing and Stafford had 11 100 yard rushers. I can only recall one RB with 1,000 yards which was Reggie Bush. 

 

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4 minutes ago, Motown Bombers said:

I think it was during a recent game when they mentioned Stafford played the same number of games as Barry Sanders. Sanders had something like 75 games of 100 yards or more rushing and Stafford had 11 100 yard rushers. I can only recall one RB with 1,000 yards which was Reggie Bush. 

 

People understate just how important a running game is for a QB, **** just the threat of a running game.  If you don't have a RB that can break more than a 5-7 yard run the backers will just keep dropping back every time and force you to throw underneath.    That's why the rare times Staff actually had a credible running back he excelled, like in 2011 with Best before he got hurt, with Bush or the small sample he has done with Swift thus far.    

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29 minutes ago, RandyMarsh said:

Not trying to discount your argument at all but I would genuinely be curious how most QBs numbers look against top 15 defenses.   Also in Stafford's defense hardly any QB in football has ever had the deck stacked against him like Stafford has.   The past 6 seasons he has not played with a single player elected to the Pro Bowler, not as an alternate but actually elected.    

On top of that only once in his entire career has he played for a defense that ranked in the top 15, and that year they just so happen to finish 11-5.   Only once in his career has he ever played for a team that was in the top 20 in rushing.

So with the exception of 1 season every single year he has played for a team with a bottom 3rd defense, bottom 3rd rushing game and with the exception of Calvin Johnson he has never played with a single pro bowl player on offense.   On top of that it's not like he has played with these offensive gurus for coaches, every OC he has ever worked for has amounted to nothing since leaving the Lions.  No coach he has ever played for has ever gotten an equal or better job to what they had when they were here.     

How many QBs could succeed in a situation like that?  

I don't disagree that Stafford has faced a lot of adversity throughout this career. Pathetic playcalling from bad/horrific Offensive Coordinators like Joe Lombardi and Jim Bob Cooter. He's dealt with terrible Head Coaches with terrible philosophies like Patricia. He's dealt with the lack of any kind of a running the game, the lack of a balanced attack, dropped passes from subpar receivers, and bad offensive lines. All of these things have hurt Stafford's play over the years. He's been in one of the toughest situations in the NFL for his career. Asking a player to succeed in the situations Stafford has been put in is very hard. He's had games and indeed entire seasons through it all where he has looked phenomenal. Seasons where you can't believe, with the playcalling and lack of talent he's had to work with, he's still managed to succeed. I'm waaaaaaaaay over the top on my critique of Matt Stafford and sometimes waaaaaaaay out of proportion with it. The guy's not a bad QB and doesn't deserve that label.

That said, he's not the great QB that some make him out to be either and deserves a hefty amount of criticism. In my view, he's also not worth the $135 million contract he's being paid and not worth sacrificing 15-16-17% of our cap space for. He's a guy who still goes out and makes boneheaded decisions and rookie-level mistakes at inopportune times in a game. He's a guy who has been failed by his OC's playcalling, but he's failed them at times. As fans we marvel at the late game comebacks and the heroics, and that's fair to do. But we should ask ourselves why we end up in those situations in the first place and what blame the starting QB deserves for that. We've seen that, statistically speaking, the 1st and 4th quarters are his best and 2nd and 3rd quarters are his worst. I think that gives some explanation as to why this offense/team is scrambling back and playing catch up in the 4th quarter far too often. I'm also expecting him to win something of note just once. I wasn't always this way on Stafford, but after the team, Stafford included, laid an egg on the field against Seattle in the playoffs in 2016, I turned into a complete troll against the guy.

In regards to the Pro Bowl comment, since 2015, on offense, Stafford had Golladay and Calvin selected to Pro Bowls. Russell Wilson in the past 5 seasons has only had two players selected to the Pro Bowl as well, Doug Baldwin and Jimmy Graham. And when Graham was selected in 2016 he had 923 yards and 6 TDs, which well solid, isn't persay what you think of as Pro Bowl stats. And if someone wants to say Stafford isn't Russell Wilson and we can't expect that out of him that's fine. Just don't pay him like Russell Wilson gets paid.

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1 minute ago, Mr.TaterSalad said:

I don't disagree that Stafford has faced a lot of adversity throughout this career. Pathetic playcalling from bad/horrific Offensive Coordinators like Joe Lombardi and Jim Bob Cooter. He's dealt with terrible Head Coaches with terrible philosophies like Patricia. He's dealt with the lack of a running the game, the lack of a balanced attack, dropped passes from subpar receivers, and bad offensive lines. All of these things have hurt Stafford's play over the years. He's been in one of the toughest situations in the NFL for his career. Asking a player to succeed in the situations Stafford has been put in are very hard. He's had games and indeed entire seasons through it all where he has looked phenomenal. Seasons where you can't believe, with the playcalling and lack of talent he's had to work with, he's still managed to succeed. I'm waaaaaaaaay over the top on my critique of Matt Stafford and sometimes waaaaaaaay out of proportion with it. The guy's not a bad QB and doesn't deserve that label.

That said, he's not the great QB that some make him out to be either and deserves a hefty amount of criticism. In my view, he's also not worth the $135 million contract he's being paid and not worth sacrificing 15-16-17% of our cap space for. He's a guy who still goes out and makes boneheaded decisions and rookie-level mistakes at inopportune times in a game. He's a guy who has been failed by his OC's playcalling, but he's failed them at times. As fans we marvel at the late game comebacks and the heroics, and that's fair to do. But we should ask ourselves why we end up in those situations in the first place and what blame the starting QB deserves for that. We've seen that, statistically speaking, the 1st and 4th quarters are his best and 2nd and 3rd quarters are his worst. I think that gives some explanation as to why this offense/team is scrambling back and playing catch up in the 4th quarter far too often. I'm also expecting him to win something of note just once. I wasn't always this way on Stafford, but after the team, Stafford included, laid an egg on the field against Seattle in the playoffs in 2016, I turned into a complete troll against the guy.

In regards to the Pro Bowl comment. Since 2015, on offense, Stafford had Golladay and Calvin selected to Pro Bowls. Russell Wilson in the past 5 seasons has only had two players selected to the Pro Bowl as well, Doug Baldwin and Jimmy Graham. And when Graham was selected in 2016 he had 923 yards and 6 TDs, which well solid, isn't persay what you think of as Pro Bowl stats.

I agree that he isn't without blame but I also contest that it is hard to accurately gauge him do to the lack of help he has received on both sides of the ball.   The salary hit means nothing to me, NFL teams have shown time and time again that there are so many loop holes and ways to get around that so his salary is irrelevant to me.  I mean right now his cap hit is 9th among NFL QBs, behind guys like Goff, Garralapolo and Rivers and essentially the same as guys like Matt Ryan, Cousins, Bridgewater and Alex Smith.   

If you expect to have a prime Manning, Brady or Brees as your QB that can carry worthless teams then yeah Staff isn't going to be that but I think that is a high bar to set.  Those guys rarely come along but I think Staff is perfectly capable of succeeding if he gets even a remotely competent team around him. 

 

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2 hours ago, RandyMarsh said:

I have no problem drafting a QB replacement but looking at recent history it seems the QBs that have panned out were drafted on teams that already had talent around them.  Like Mahomes, Jackson, Watson,  Goff(when he was good) and Wentz.(see Goff)   Perhaps the team would be better served building up the rest of the team first?   Staff is 32, that's not exactly ancient by NFL QBs standards.  Tannehill just got a 4/120 deal and he's the same age as Stafford,  as is Russell Wilson and Kirk Cousins.   And of course we know about the guys like Rodgers, Brees, Brady, Rivers and Roethlisberger who are all several years older than him.

With that said, I wouldn't be against drafting a potential replacement but I don't necessarily think we have to at this point either.    I would be completely fine with keeping Staff for 2 years and drafting his replacement then after hopefully we put together a better supporting cast.  

He'll be 33 when next season starts. Tannehill and Wilson (who is a lot better than Stafford) are on good teams, the Cousins contract was a mistake. Also, Stafford has a lot of miles on his body, he's been in the league longer than those guys and his body has taken a lot of abuse. The injuries are starting to pile up the last few seasons. You can already see some regressions creeping into his game.

You can't wait until 2 years to draft a replacement because if he walks and they have nothing at QB and aren't in position to draft a potential franchise QB then what?. Ideally, you want a replacement drafted while Stafford is still here so he can be groomed under Stafford then you deal him or let him walk at the end of his contract although that would be poor asset management. They should be drafting top 10 this season and next. One of those picks needs to be a QB IMO.

There are no easy answers when a franchise is in transition like this one but I do know that this team isn't nearly good enough now to hold on to an older QB with the hope of competing for a championship in his window of high level play. They are still a ways off from even being average (wild card contender), don't let the record fool you.

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2 hours ago, NYLion said:

Stafford is 33, has two years left on his contract and the Lions are nowhere close to being a contender. Do you want to build around Stafford at this point? Doesn't make sense to me. 

I think they should keep him next season but they have to start looking at the future QB now whether it be this draft or the next. It's a ridiculous argument to shy away from taking a 1st round QB because there's been some busts in the past. Might as well never take one with a high pick then and hope for the best with a later round QB or trade for a broken Wentz or something like that.

im a huge stafford fan and think he is criminally underrated here, but i think the lions should think about drafting a qb this year.

stafford is getting older and you have to think about the future.

that said, im not so sure the options are all that great this year outside of the #1 pick.

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Even though it seems like I'm a huge Stafford supporter based off of my recent posts I'm open either way but depending on how the rest of the season plays out that could sway my opinion.  The past 4 weeks he's been a top 5 QB according to PFF, granted that's a tiny sample but lets say he keeps that up for the rest of the season that would mean despite missing his best WR, injuries to his line, coaching changes he was still a top 5 QB for half the season.    Why would you want to replace that when you have him under control for 2 more years and you have so many more holes to fill?    

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Rumor out there that Stafford may not have interest in playing for another Lions coach. In that case, the team should draft another QB early. 

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On 12/11/2020 at 12:25 PM, NYLion said:

He'll be 33 when next season starts. Tannehill and Wilson (who is a lot better than Stafford) are on good teams, the Cousins contract was a mistake. Also, Stafford has a lot of miles on his body, he's been in the league longer than those guys and his body has taken a lot of abuse. The injuries are starting to pile up the last few seasons. You can already see some regressions creeping into his game.

You can't wait until 2 years to draft a replacement because if he walks and they have nothing at QB and aren't in position to draft a potential franchise QB then what?. Ideally, you want a replacement drafted while Stafford is still here so he can be groomed under Stafford then you deal him or let him walk at the end of his contract although that would be poor asset management. They should be drafting top 10 this season and next. One of those picks needs to be a QB IMO.

There are no easy answers when a franchise is in transition like this one but I do know that this team isn't nearly good enough now to hold on to an older QB with the hope of competing for a championship in his window of high level play. They are still a ways off from even being average (wild card contender), don't let the record fool you.

The whole QB in waiting is such a misnomer. It rarely works. Quick name all the QB's in waiting that were good. Rogers and Maholmes. Done. That's the list. 

Just ride him till he's done and then do what every other team has done for 70 years, draft one high

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