Over at NBC’s Rotoworld, Patrick Daugherty took a look at all of the quarterback situations in the NFL and did what football writers ought to do in the offseason: rank ‘em.
Still somehow only 29, Matthew Stafford has started all 16 games and passed for at least 4,200 yards each of the past six years. There have been stops and starts in Stafford’s development, but he’s been more up than down, completing 66.3 percent of his passes over the past two seasons while averaging 7.24 yards per attempt. Stafford has cut back on his swashbuckling antics, tossing a modest 35 interceptions over his past 48 starts. Stafford does not put teams on his back like an Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady, but knows what to do when given weapons. In this regard, he is not dissimilar to Matt Ryan. Durable and consistent with playmaking ability, Stafford has proven worthy of his No. 1 overall pick, and should have at least another 5-6 years under center in Detroit.
All of the praise Daugherty heaps onto Stafford sits right, but the quasi-criticism of him not being able to “put teams on his back” is something to take umbrage with.
In 2016, Stafford’s eight game-winning drives in the fourth quarter just tied the record for the most in a season, ever. If that doesn’t satisfy carrying your team to success, I’m not sure anything could convince Daugherty otherwise until the Lions start winning playoff games with Stafford at the helm.
Earlier this month, ESPN’s Dan Graziano released his own set of quarterback rankings, but took into account each team’s entire depth chart rather than just the starting QB as Daugherty did.
Jeremy Reisman took Graziano’s list as an opportunity to remind everyone how Stafford’s youth, combined with his ability to orchestrate those come-from-behind victories and put his stamp on the NFL record books, are reasons enough to start to consider him as one of the top quarterbacks in the league.
The 2017 season could go a long way toward affixing Stafford’s name to that rarified air reserved for quarterbacks like Brady, Rodgers and Brees.