When a season goes astray like the Detroit Lions’ 2018 campaign, the solution for a quick turnaround is never easy. While the temptation is to find a scapegoat and put all of the problems on their shoulders, the truth is 5-10 seasons are caused by many factors. No one player, coach, design, locker room culture, punctuality problem or injury is solely to blame for failure in the end. And if we’re being completely honest, sometimes a team’s record isn’t very indicative of how a team performed. It’s just one stat—and one with a small sample size—that measures performance. It just so happens to be the one that “matters.”
That being said, it’s clear some players or coaches did not meet preseason expectations. So today’s Question of the Day is:
What (or who) was the biggest disappointment from the 2018 Detroit Lions?
My answer: It’s hard for me to say anything other than Matthew Stafford.
Sure, we can (rightfully) place some blame on his offensive coordinator, who seemed hell-bent on taking away Stafford’s best strength: his deep ball accuracy and rocket arm. Sure, we can blame the injuries that decimated his receiving corps in the final two months of the season.
But if we rewind to September, a lot of the offensive issues can be traced to subpar play from Stafford. When the season was still in grasp, Stafford turned the ball over in crucial moments, overthrew open targets, and failed to make the game-winning comeback drives that had become so synonymous with his name. Should Stafford made some plays earlier in the season, who knows how the rest of the year may have played out?
To be clear, I am still very much in Stafford’s corner. Anyone who has paid attention to his career can see that this season was an anomaly from him. Just about every single one of Stafford’s stats from 2018 is the lowest it’s been in at least five years. Bad seasons happen, and I haven’t lost much faith in QB1. This was simply one disappointing season.