Numerous reports have been made about Phil Simms’ recent comments about Matthew Stafford, which were surprisingly supportive, given the field of candidates he was compared to in Simms’ interview, with the Scores Report.
Simms on Stafford:
PS: Yes. He’s got the arm and he’s a lot more mobile then I thought he would be when I saw him at Georgia. I’m not saying he’s got Brett Favre’s arm, but he has an arm that is going to last a long time. Of course, Joe Flacco does too, but Stafford would be my type of quarterback.
PS: You know, I think Mark Sanchez has developed a niche where it fits for 40% of the teams and how they want to run their offense. And I think Joe Flacco is in a little bit of a different class himself, you know, because he’s a power thrower and you have to fit him in that kind of an offense. But I think there’s a little more versatility with Matt Stafford and I was probably too hard on him when I judged him coming out of college. He’s got the look of a much better pro early on than I thought he would.
TSR: I’ll tell you what, that’s not the Matt I thought you’d go with. I thought maybe Matt Ryan with how good he’s looked in a year and a half now. To me, he looks like he’s progressing, which is a great thing for him and the Falcons because he looked good last year right out of the gates as a rookie.
PS: I like him – no question. But I’m projecting for an entire lifetime. I know there are throws that Matthew Stafford can make that Matt Ryan can’t make. To me, that would be the difference. And I know it’s all about team, and Matt Ryan is off to a good start and he’s done a lot of wonderful things. But I don’t look at Matt Ryan and go, “He’s an exceptional thrower of the football.” He’s a good leader, he runs the system well, he’s accurate – a lot of good stuff. But, when it comes to making three or four throws a game that only a handful of quarterbacks in the NFL can make, Matthew Stafford is one of those guys.
Simms’ impressions get a little surprising for me here:
PS: Yeah he does. I’ve got to tell you, I even said this to somebody the other day, that Chicago game I said wow, that was another little step forward for him where his talent is really starting to show on the field. He made a couple of throws that, Jay Culter could have made them, Joe Flacco could have made them, and there you go – I can’t think of anyone else. Peyton Manning? No. Tom Brady? Maybe. You know, guys like Stafford have big arms. I love when people go, “Arm strength just isn’t that important.” Well, then I sure don’t want you evaluating players for me.
Simms never possessed an arm like Stafford’s which probably inflates his view of strong throwers. Yet, unlikely Fran Tarkenton’s early impression of Stafford being a thrower, rather than a sound, accurate passer, the astute Simms truly believes in Stafford’s potential, as he has shown a lot of growth, with likely growing pains yet to come, at this early juncture of his career.
Stafford’s Game by Game Log has seen Stafford’s Qb rating start at an awful 27.4. Stafford has since provided the team with subsequent performances of 87.8 and 89.6, sure signs of growth, with his yards per attempt also increasing 5.5 y/a to 6.7 and 8.2 y/a, a particularly strong indicator against not-too-bad defenses in the Redskins and Bears.
Stafford’s first stumbling block will be overcoming his recent knee injury and getting back to work against the Packers this Sunday.
Here is a Green Bay Scouts View:Green Bay Press Gazette, Oct. 14: “He has a super-strong arm and looks like a good long-term prospect. He’s also shown a veteran-type ability to draw defenses offsides with his cadence. “I really like the kid,” one scout said. “He’s gotten better every week, he’s gaining confidence, he was definitely making some nice throws.” and later:
“Offensively they’ve got some talent,” the scout said. “Assuming (Stafford) is healthy, offensively the arrow is definitely going up.””
The Lions hopefully have paid attention and realize that they had better find the means to upgrade the protection of the organization’s biggest and brightest asset. The Lions offensive line has by no means been the liability that I expected entering this season, but they are a liability nonetheless. Hopefully, Martin Mayhew can engineer opportunities for the Lions to finally upgrade along both their offensive and defensive lines, with next season’s draft picks and free agency looming.
Regardless of this season’s final record, the Lions, with the addition of a potential franchise quarterback, are in a much better position than they have been for about 50 years. Given Jim Schwartz and his coaching staff’s ability to gain the most from their charge’s abilities, despite their clear lack of talent, and Martin Mayhew’s early ability to upgrade the roster, even if it is with band-aids and duct tape, fans should have cause to possess a rosier outlook than they have had in a rather long time.