With the future career of our potential franchise quarterback apparently hanging in the balance, it seems the whole of mainstream media has latched on to the idea that the lions must do something to protect Matthew Stafford. This, "do something," usually just means, "replace someone."
And so, after scanning the current offensive line and their play in 2010, the two names that consistently appear are Dominic Raiola and Stephen Peterman. In this piece, we will direct our focus towards the latter.
We have all seen various opinions floating around POD concerning Peterman, and it seems only fit that if we are going to speak as if we are knowledgeable, that we actually attempt to gain some knowledge on the subject. So I took the time to do a little research, enjoy.
Lets begin with a little brief history:
Peterman played college ball at LSU. After coming in from St. Stanislaus as a tight end, they converted him to guard, where he started 35 of his 48 games. (TigerSportsDigest.com called him a leader of their offensive line) His career as a professional began when the Dallas Cowboys drafted him with the 20th pick of the third round in 2004. Hampered by injuries and unable to contribute, the Cowboys organization finally gave up and released him on August 23, 2006. And this is where our Detroit Lions scooped him up.
Consistently improving since his arrival, this 6-4, 323 lb hoss worked his way into our starting lineup. And in 2009 he had his best season, where Pro Football Focus actually graded him out as the 13th best guard in the entire league. (If you're unfamiliar with PFF's grading system, it's the same one Ty often uses at The Lions in Winter. Basically, they review every play of every player and assign positive or negative values according to how well they carried out their assignments, detracting for penalties, rewarding consistency, etc.)
However, 2010 told a different story. Peterman was struggling with the injury bug once again, his main issue being his foot. The Lions inability to run with consistency, especially on the right side, this past year was apparent to anyone watching. He also did quite a job racking up the penalties. (Remember those chop-blocks, anyone?) All of this seems to indicate one thing: He was doing whatever possible to protect his quarterback and help the team, despite his ailing foot. If it meant cheating a little, then it was either that or get burned, and get another busted up QB. That must have been an even more terrifying prospect during the games where Drew Stanton was already starting.
The problem is not that Peterman is a poor player, but that he seems to struggle with injuries. When healthy, he is actually quite a force, especially at run-blocking. This led me to search for a history on the injuries which our friend Mr. Peterman has sustained throughout his career.
However, I could only find the injuries reported from 2008 onward. These dates appear to signify the weeks in which the injuries were reported as being a factor.
Nov 12, 2010: Foot
Oct 01, 2010: Foot
Sept 24, 2010: Foot
Nov 20, 2009: Ankle
Sept 11, 2009: Ankle
Dec 05, 2008: Knee
Oct 17, 2008: Hand
Oct 10, 2008: Hand
Oct 03, 2008: Hand
Sept 21, 2008: Hand
As we can see, there appear to be four main injuries: His hand in 2008, his knee at the end of that same season, his ankle in 2009, and his foot in 2010.
So in conclusion, the question here is not, "Is Peterman any good?" but, "Is Peterman too injury prone to rely on?" If yes, then by all means we should look for a replacement at right guard. However, it seems just as plausible that a quality backup is all we need to continue forward with our beast-if-healthy current guy, Stephen Peterman.