There has been a lot of debate about Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford's performance in 2012. While he still put up big numbers from a yardage standpoint, his touchdown numbers were down, and in general, he seemed to take a bit of a step back in 2012.
Now, just because Stafford was often inconsistent in 2012 doesn't mean his overall talent has declined. The Lions are still fully confident that Stafford is their franchise quarterback, and the feeling is that he still has loads of potential. Just ask former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman. From the Lions' official site:
"I'm a big fan of Matt's and I think he's an exceptional player," Aikman said Thursday at the Super Bowl "He's obviously a guy they can build things around and they're fortunate to have him." [...]
"With that team, there's just some other things they need from the team around him to go on and do some of the things they are hoping to do," he said.
"I think he's absolutely the caliber of quarterback to take them to a Super Bowl, they just have to take some of the pressure off him."
Former Baltimore Ravens quarterback Trent Dilfer echoed Aikman's thoughts on Stafford. Not only did Dilfer dismiss the concerns about Stafford's throwing motion, but he also said that Stafford is a player you can build a franchise around. In addition, Dilfer essentially said that the Lions need to give him more help. From MLive:
"I think he's great," Dilfer said. "I'm a big Stafford fan. I recognize the burden he's carrying. When you have a limited running game, you have an offensive line that is not really physical, and a defense that (struggles), it's really hard to be efficient as a quarterback. I think he has made them better than they would be without him by far. You can definitely build around him. The term franchise quarterback I think is a fair term to use. You definitely can build a franchise around Matthew Stafford."
A big theme of the Lions' early picks the last few years has been drafting players that can help Stafford and the offense. Unfortunately, picks like Jahvid Best and Titus Young haven't worked out (for different reasons), and not being able to count on them has been tough for Stafford. This is why the 2013 offseason is so important for the Lions. They have to fill some of these holes on offense. Doing so will make Stafford better, and that will ultimately make the team much better as a whole.