Somehow four-time Pro Bowl quarterback Andrew Luck and Detroit’s Matthew Stafford are both less deserving of a spot on Bill Barnwell’s list of best quarterbacks to never reach a Super Bowl than Jay Cutler and Jeff Blake. Barnwell’s methodology relies heavily on the indexed adjusted yards per attempt statistic at Pro Football Reference.
Outside of his six seasons as the starting quarterback of the Cincinnati Bengals, Blake was about as close to the definition of a journeyman quarterback as you could get. The former East Carolina signal caller was sent packing after the Bengals drafted Akili Smith, and spent time with the Saints, Ravens, Cardinals, Eagles, and Bears before closing his 13-year career in 2005. Blake made the Pro Bowl once and led 12 fourth-quarter comebacks (16 game-winning drives). While Blake did not have great teams his entire career, nobody is going to argue Stafford had stupendous supporting casts throughout his career, either.
Over a 12-season career with the Broncos, Bears, and Dolphins, Jay Cutler managed to make the Pro Bowl once and appeared in the playoffs just once. Among his career comparables on Pro Football Reference are Ken Stabler, Jim Plunkett, and Phil Simms, but also Matt Hasselbeck, Andy Dalton, and Jim Everett. Stafford has a bunch of those guys on his comparables list, too, but then adds in Jim Kelly, Joe Theismann, Joe Namath, and Roger Staubach.
Barnwell’s defense of Cutler and Blake more or less amount to saying they didn’t have good defenses. Aside from the 2014 monster, have the Lions had any good defenses that consistently delivered in the last decade? Even if you don’t think Stafford is better than either of those two selections, Andrew Luck’s injury-shortened career was a heck of a lot more impressive. Oh, and here are the defenses Luck had supporting him during the 2012-2016 years when he was the starter (injured in 2017):
Chuck Paganos teams by scoring defense:— Stephen Letizia (@StephenLetizia) January 11, 2019
2011 - 3rd (1st in DVOA)
2012 - 21st (31st)
2013 - 9th (16th)
2014 - 19th (13th)
2015 - 25th (13th)
2016 - 22nd (29th)
2017 - 14th (27th)
Colts were 28th in scoring and 26th in DVOA the year before he arrived.
What happened in 2018 after Chuck Pagano was fired and Frank Reich took over? Luck had the best defense he’d ever played with. It’s too bad he didn’t have more seasons like that. It’s also too bad Stafford hasn’t had more defenses like he did with the 2014 Lions.
And now, on to the rest of today’s Notes:
- We stan for Mr. Orlovsky:
- Benjamin Raven at mlive.com wrote about Kenny Golladay’s thoughts on being passed over in the draft by his hometown Chicago Bears: “It’s all right. I’m with Matthew Stafford.”
- In case you missed the Prideiscope with our own Mike Payton and Lester Wiltfong from Windy City Gridiron, you can watch it here:
- I know this is college football and not Lions-related, but what the heck is going on in Florida?
NFL Network analyst and Hall of Famer Deion Sanders has emerged as a candidate for the Florida St. head coaching job, sources tell me and @MikeGarafolo. A fascinating situation that could unfold.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 8, 2019
- As always, cool vintage footage from the official Lions twitter account for Throwback Thursday: