If it were any other player at any other position, maybe it wouldn’t be such a big deal.
Matthew Stafford didn’t take the field in the Detroit Lions’ second preseason game against the Houston Texans. It was the first time in his 11-year career the franchise quarterback failed to take a snap in the team’s second game of the preseason.
After learning in June about the injury suffered to his back during the 2018 season, it seems as though the Lions are erring on the side of caution when it comes to the health of Stafford.
No harm. No foul.
But it’s the most important position for any NFL franchise, so of course it’s morphed into a topic of discussion amongst those concerned about the team’s chances in 2019. Without Matthew Stafford, we’ve seen what the team has in reserve should their primary signal caller be relegated to the sideline, so the cause for concern isn’t without reason.
“Oh, no. Yeah, no, I feel good,” said Stafford when asked about if the rest he’s been receiving is related to the back injury.
At face value, when taken in conjunction with the words from Matt Patricia after the Texans game, it would seem there’s little cause for concern when it comes to the availability of Stafford if these games had any real stakes.
But that leads us into today’s Question of the Day...
Do you need to see Matthew Stafford play in the preseason?
Even if it’s just to ward off the sinking suspicions of doubt that’s bubbling way down inside you, do you need to see Stafford take some snaps and look like himself in Friday’s game against the Buffalo Bills? If so, what does he need to do to put those fears to bed? Take snaps for one drive? Two? Make how many throws? Take a hit and get back up without so much as a grimace or wince?
With the amount of work Stafford is able to get in these joint practices, it seems a bit foolish to put so much stock into him taking the field for what are largely meaningless games for a veteran like himself.
Sure, it’s a new offense under Darrell Bevell. Sure, there are three new targets Stafford will be seeing out on the field quite a bit by the likes of Danny Amendola, Jesse James, and rookie T.J. Hockenson. And yes, there’s always room to build more comfortability with Frank Ragnow as he slides over to the center position. But isn’t that what the entirety of training camp is for?
If the team thinks it’s best to see Stafford rest on game day instead of take a hit or two in an uncontrolled situation like the preseason, where defenders are out there trying to make a name and a paycheck for themselves, it seems like that’s the right course of action.