Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

22 Oct 2013

Why Matt Stafford is a Polarizing QB

At least once a week on Twitter, I see a writer slam Stafford for his poor footwork, his unsound throwing form, and his tendency not to follow through with his release in situations where he had a chance. And these Emily Posts of NFL football analysis are accurate with their takes. But are they really seeing the big picture? Read the rest at the RSP blog.

Posted by: Matt Waldman on 22 Oct 2013

75 comments, Last at 03 Nov 2013, 4:31pm by lions fan

Comments

1
by djanyreason :: Tue, 10/22/2013 - 12:01pm

When an author has to use phrases like "Emily Post Evening School of Quarterback Technique" it usually means he thinks his argument is weak.

2
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Tue, 10/22/2013 - 12:18pm

Weak or not, Stafford is the second best QB to ever wear a Lions uniform, and Bobby Layne isn't walking through that door.

And form guys would have hated Layne, too. Stafford is at least refreshingly sober.

The only position that receives more criticism than Lions QB is Red Wings goalie. In my lifetime, the only two people to silence criticism in those roles are Dominik Hasek and Stafford. Neither were what you would consider "fundamentally sound".

13
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 10/22/2013 - 1:31pm

Couldn't agree more. Everytime a Lions fan says "we should get rid of Stafford", I do a facepalm before asking them who is available that will be equal or better. Calvin Johnson was making insane catches in 2008, but the team didn't win a single game, and had team QB rating 71.

Of course I wish his mechanics were a little more consistent when he's not pressured, but watch the Cincinnati game and the 2011 Wildcard game against New Orleans and you'll see him do whatever he can to avoid sacks and move the ball, while his offensive line is getting dominated by the opposition.

4
by Crunch (not verified) :: Tue, 10/22/2013 - 12:21pm

There are those kind of tells throughout the piece really. This reads like an analyst who has no defense for his position going on the attack from the second sentence. Poorly written, badly reasoned and with nothing to say beyond the writer's bare assertion that people who dislike stafford are timid and feminine.

7
by RickD :: Tue, 10/22/2013 - 1:13pm

It really is disappointing, isn't it?

I expect more from this site.

18
by TomC :: Tue, 10/22/2013 - 2:44pm

Yes. Let your argument speak for itself, and drop the ad hominem B.S. It really damages your credibility and makes you sound like Moneyball-era Joe Morgan, but without the 2,500 hits and two rings.

22
by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Tue, 10/22/2013 - 2:49pm

If you read the blurb in Colin Cowherd's voice, it all makes a lot more sense.

23
by Crunch (not verified) :: Tue, 10/22/2013 - 2:55pm

Do you suppose FO has hired Skip Bayless to write for them?

3
by Kaelik (not verified) :: Tue, 10/22/2013 - 12:19pm

"Lots of folks will tell you that they dislike quarterbacks like Brett Favre, Tim Tebow, Jay Cutler, and Ben Roethlisberger for their off-field behavior."

Huh? Who doesn't like Jay Cutler for his off field behavior?

No really, what about Jay Cutler off field is even remotely as prominent as Favre's retirement hijinks and dick picks, Tebows politics, or Roethlisberger's... things he did?

Last I checked everyone who doesn't like Cutler dislikes him because of on the field, either because of bad decisions, or because of "bad body language" (a heading which also includes the legitimate complaints about ignoring OCs and being a bad teammate, when those apply).

17
by TomC :: Tue, 10/22/2013 - 2:41pm

Agreed 100%. Lazy writing there.

25
by justanothersteve :: Tue, 10/22/2013 - 3:28pm

I guess you don't remember him proposing by text message and FedExing the ring. Not as prominent as the other three mentioned, but he has had some controversy.

29
by bhauck :: Tue, 10/22/2013 - 4:27pm

Tebow advocates women dying giving birth to already-dead babies instead of aborting them. Roethlisberger almost certainly raped someone. Favre repeatedly harassed a junior employee of the company he worked for. And Cutler . . . deviated from tradition?

32
by justanothersteve :: Tue, 10/22/2013 - 4:39pm

I pointed out that Cutler has been criticized for his off-field behavior as the author stated. This is not about who is worse. I don't have any problems with Cutler's off-field behavior, especially compared to any of the other three. But it is factually correct that he has been criticized for his off-field behavior. To say he hasn't is wrong. The complaint was lazy criticism. If people are going to nit-pick an article and can't get the facts correct, it deserves to be pointed out.

35
by Andrew Potter :: Tue, 10/22/2013 - 4:50pm

Source/quote for that first one? Not even the most vociferous opponents of abortion I know -- and I know plenty -- are opposed to removing a dead fetus from a living mother, especially where it's a risk to the mother's health.

36
by bhauck :: Tue, 10/22/2013 - 5:42pm

I'm hestitant to do much googling on this at work, but I did find this: http://www.snopes.com/glurge/timtebow.asp

It doesn't say EXACTLY what I accused him of, but it gets pretty close to it: Tim Tebow supports using his mother as an example of the virtues of not aborting a baby that doctors are saying will kill you and won't be born healthy.

39
by Andrew Potter :: Tue, 10/22/2013 - 6:18pm

I disagree that what that article discussed gets pretty close to what you accused Tebow of advocating, but I respect that you're in work and don't want to be entering those terms into search engines. If you find a link that supports your original assertion, I'd be interested to read it.

62
by bhauck :: Wed, 10/23/2013 - 12:27pm

[Added the next morning: Welp, super glad I spent the time to research this and associate my name with so much controversial stuff, since apparently the other guy forgot to see if I kept my word.]

OK, sorry for the delay, west coast, worked late, made dinner. So here's my best not-a-lawyer constructed argument:

That article establishes, at least, that he works with Focus on the Family. This link: http://community.focusonthefamily.com/b/boundless/archive/2009/06/01/dr-... establishes that Focus on the Family believed George Tiller was a heartless murderer of babies, though the point of the statement is to denounce his murder (I chose the link so as to use FotF's own words, not to associate them with violence).

I really want to emphasize, I'm using George Tiller because of the nature of his practice and the googleability of his name. I'm not trying to link Tebow or anyone else to violence.

This next link: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB124379172024269869 in the last two paragraphs, describes how hundreds of the abortions Tiller performed were when it "would cause the woman "substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function" and how he was known for "providing abortions for women who discovered late in pregnancy that their fetuses had severe or fatal birth defects."

I exaggerated when I said "already dead babies" and not "incapable of life outside the womb." The other cracks in this argument are that Tebow probably doesn't agree with FotF on 100% of their mission, but I think it's pretty unlikely that this is a place he differs because it's a major focus of the organization (there weren't thousands of protesters at Tiller's clinic because the leading organization thought it was a low priority). Another is that, maybe, FotF and/or Tebow hates abortions to save the mother and hates abortions of unviable fetuses, but is totally fine with abortions for both, which is the scenario I exaggerated at. Again, though, that strikes me as trying to hit a ridiculously small slice of probability.

Have I passed the level of logical rigor and evidence required to exaggerate a bit in the comment section of a football blog post?

66
by Andrew Potter :: Wed, 10/23/2013 - 8:19pm

I've been unwell today, and planned to read the links when my head doesn't feel like it's trapped in a vise. I'm sorry that my lack of alacrity appears to have upset you.

67
by bhauck :: Wed, 10/23/2013 - 8:22pm

No, I was just joking around. Hope you feel better soon.

68
by MC2 :: Thu, 10/24/2013 - 2:37am

Roethlisberger almost certainly raped someone.

This is a blatantly ridiculous assertion that I have thoroughly debunked here (starting with comment #109).

(By the way, I have neither the time nor desire to get into another long argument about this topic, so don't get your feelings hurt if I don't reply to you. I have said all that I have to say about the matter on the other thread that I linked to, so I will let my comments there speak for themselves.)

69
by bhauck :: Thu, 10/24/2013 - 11:37am

I think the arguments you bring up there are better for "Is there enough evidence he should be suspended?" than "Can we assert in a comment thread that he [probably] raped at least one of the two people who accused him of it, particularly considering how poorly our society treats women who report rape?"

71
by MC2 :: Thu, 10/24/2013 - 9:17pm

If you had said "probably", I wouldn't have said anything, although I think "quite possibly" would be more accurate. It was your use of the phrase "almost certainly" that I objected to, since it implies a degree of knowledge about the situation that you couldn't possibly have (unless you happen to have been in that bar that night).

73
by Anonymousse (not verified) :: Fri, 10/25/2013 - 4:32pm

You don't debunk shit. You basically just keep repeating "we can't be sure, we don't have enough evidence".

Which is true, we can't be sure. I think 'almost certainly' is fine though. The guy had a reputation for screwing unconscious drunk girls in college. He's had several incidents like this since, and the eyewitnesses (who aren't completely credible) say his bodyguards helped him bring her to the bathroom and then blocked the doors.

That's enough for me to say "almost certainly".

5
by Dave :: Tue, 10/22/2013 - 12:30pm

I don't dislike or like Stafford. But I do think he's reckless at times with his throws, and I think that kind of stuff counts as a negative.

9
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 10/22/2013 - 1:17pm

I'd be with you if he were throwing interceptions week after week, but that's not really the case. He has 4 through 7 games. And before you object that it's not sustainable....since 2010, his INT% has been between 5-20% below league average.

I'm not sure it can really be called a negative if it doesn't affect your team's ability to win or lose.

21
by Dave :: Tue, 10/22/2013 - 2:48pm

I'm a spoiled fan and a perfectionist, so I don't really compare him to league-average. I compare him to the best. Or if you prefer, the overused-by-idiots "elite" level. Which I think is fair, given his contract.

I realize I'm being harsh, but again, I'm a perfectionist and spoiled... there are things about him that don't pass my eye test to put him in the level of guys that make me think that as long as you've got them, you're in contention for not just the playoffs, but a title every year.

That's not a bad thing. Basically I'm just saying I don't think he's amazing.

33
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 10/22/2013 - 4:39pm

Your position is actually very reasonable. Most arguments I hear are between people who think he is Kurt Warnerian vs those who think he is Blaine Gabbertian.

40
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Tue, 10/22/2013 - 6:35pm

His TD%+ and INT%+ ratings actually are consistent with perennial Pro Bowl QBs. His career numbers are basically between Unitas and Elway when it comes to TD rate and INT rate, even accounting for the TD drought in 2012, when he seemed to throw 10 completions down at the 1 yard line.

43
by tuluse :: Tue, 10/22/2013 - 6:57pm

The problem here is that compared to Stafford's contemporaries, Unitas's stats are pretty bad. His career completion percentage is below 60%. His career interception rate is 4.9%, worse than every qualifying quarterback had last year.

44
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 10/22/2013 - 7:02pm

Your link is to 2012 alone.

For Stafford's career http://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/S/StafMa00.htm,
his INT and TD rate are slightly above average (which PFR adjusts from year to year), which is probably the point you were trying to make. Keep in mind that his rookie year and 2012 really pull down his career averages, while 2011 and this year pull it way up (his highs are really high, and his lows are really low).

48
by tuluse :: Tue, 10/22/2013 - 10:37pm

I was comparing Unitas to modern quarterbacks and specifically wrote "last year".

56
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Wed, 10/23/2013 - 5:10am

Ah, I misread your post.

50
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Tue, 10/22/2013 - 11:43pm

PFR's TD%+ and INT%+ are era-adjusted.

This yields some odd results in the 1930s, but really small sample sizes there.

60
by tuluse :: Wed, 10/23/2013 - 11:46am

I missed the plus signs.

75
by lions fan (not verified) :: Sun, 11/03/2013 - 4:31pm

Are u kidding me??? After that performance against Dallas u should have your head examined.... STAFFORD IS THE TRUTH!!!

6
by Theo :: Tue, 10/22/2013 - 12:32pm

I don't see your point really.
He's polarizing because he plays the position 'differently'?
Is that it? Aren't there about 20 of those in the league?

8
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 10/22/2013 - 1:13pm

I think he means that mainstream opinions on Stafford are either that he is a notch below elite, or that he's terrible, and only being propped up by Megatron.

Just go read a Lions message board and you'll see the meaning of "polarizing".

11
by RickD :: Tue, 10/22/2013 - 1:26pm

If that's what he meant, he might have said it.

10
by RickD :: Tue, 10/22/2013 - 1:19pm

Where's the answer to the headline?

What I'm reading is "I like Stafford and lots of writers are mean to him so I'm going to call them names. And even though I concede that Stafford isn't that good, I'm still going to call them names."

"They've learned the nuances of the game’s rules, strategies, and techniques, but they've failed to maintain an overall perspective beyond the minutiae of these details."

It's not like this article helps them any. I had to open another window to look up Stafford's stats my own self.

12
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 10/22/2013 - 1:30pm

Does looking up Stafford's stats do anything to refute the main point of the article (that some, but not all of the criticism he receives is unjustified). Since his rookie year (which was with one of the worst rosters in NFL history), his DVOA has been +3.0%,+14.9%,+12.2%,and +11.5%. Not elite, but not someone you need to replace, either.

14
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 10/22/2013 - 1:38pm

"And even though I concede that Stafford isn't that good"

I'm not seeing where in the article he does that. He even says that if Stafford had the weapons Atlanta had (when healthy) he would be equal to or better than Matt Ryan.

Where he concedes Stafford isn't that "good" is consistent mechanics.

19
by Keith(1) (not verified) :: Tue, 10/22/2013 - 2:45pm

I have only a handful of games as reference, so take my questioning and analysis with a grain of salt.

I do not think Stafford is terrible, nor do I believe he is elite. What I see from him are passes that fall into one of four categories:

1) Throw it up passes to Megatron (but what quarterback would not do that?). Count this category as a push on the positive/negative scale, because even Tom Brady did this with Randy Moss.

2) Absolute lasers into tight windows. Count this category as a positive, because he has a huge arm.

3) Errant passes that do not fall into the hands of defenders. Count this category as a push on the positive/negative scale, because if the other team is not intercepting and punishing him, he will continue to make these throws. I think this particular category infuriates most of his detractors, simply because they COULD be interceptions.

4) Actual interceptions. Count this as a negative, obviously.

I guess my point is, when looking for a reason for category 3, people point to everything under the sun, without actually making the point. I think he is good, but I think he could be better if he had a bit more controlled touch. But hey, he is fun and exciting and it could be worse.

55
by commissionerleaf :: Wed, 10/23/2013 - 12:19am

That isn't the point of the article. The point of the article is that Stafford is a real NFL quarterback and Detroit fans should be bitching about ANYTHING but the quarterback position because the situation could be very much worse and very few teams are lucky enough to have better. Saying that Detroit should throw over one of the three best arms in the NFL, attached to a functioning quarterback, even if imperfect, is absolutely positively insane.

Stafford is what a good NFL quarterback looks like. The fact that he is not Peyton Manning is not really a black mark on him. No one else is.

15
by N8- (not verified) :: Tue, 10/22/2013 - 2:34pm

Stafford is better than many, and improving. He is still a "chucker" and takes huge risks. He is successful now due to Megatron and other tall WRs doing their part. With the right roster, he is good enough to win a Superbowl. He's not an elite QB, but he doesn't need to be HOF to win big games.

16
by N8- (not verified) :: Tue, 10/22/2013 - 2:36pm

And he's only 25. Lots of miles left

20
by Anonnymous (not verified) :: Tue, 10/22/2013 - 2:47pm

I feel like this might be a troll article, as the general point is that one should not look at evidence but just trust one's gut.

24
by whckandrw (not verified) :: Tue, 10/22/2013 - 3:02pm

Seems like an obvious troll article but I don't get it. Probably because I don't watch enough traditional football media? Stafford looks good by FO stats, isn't that that engineering realm of football fans?

26
by Anonymousse (not verified) :: Tue, 10/22/2013 - 3:35pm

This whole byline basically seems to be "If you don't agree with me you probably drool a lot"

27
by justanothersteve :: Tue, 10/22/2013 - 3:43pm

If it makes the author feel better, I was listening to Green and Gold Today last week and some idiot named Ken called and said the Packers should get rid of Rodgers because he's terrible. Literally terrible. (I've mostly lived in St Louis since 1987. I know better.) Look hard enough and you can find some people who aren't happy short of every game being a blowout in favor of your team and a 19-0 record every year with associated Super Bowl. Even then they'll complain about that one time the star WR dropped a pass.

I think Stafford is still at the point where it's hard to determine the direction of his legacy, but it will probably fall betweeen Jeff George and Favre. That's not bad.

28
by DisplacedPackerFan :: Tue, 10/22/2013 - 4:00pm

I look at Stafford and keep wondering what would happen if he had a coach like Holmgren, McCarthy, or Chillar who would hound him relentlessly on his mechanics. I think there are reasons why Favre won Super Bowls and got to NFC Championship games with some coaches and not others. Yes the teams had various talent levels, but things were just better when he was forced to focus on his mechanics.

Without it, Favre was a very good QB, arguably one of the better ones in the league nearly every year. But given a coach that made him focus on mechanics he was MVP discussion levels, even with Minnesota and Manning and Brady in the league.

I don't blame Stafford. There are coaches on teams for a reason, it's a very rare individual who can reach their maximum potential without any external help/motivation/guidance. So I look at Stafford, I see wasted potential because of the situation he's in. It's not like GB was a great team when Wolfe/Holmgren/Favre were in their early years. The problem isn't Stafford, it's Schwartz. As a Packers fan, I'm glad for this because I don't feel the Lions will ever be a real threat. As a football fan, I'd like to see what Stafford could really become.

34
by Jeff M. (not verified) :: Tue, 10/22/2013 - 4:44pm

There's an actually interesting question implied by the article (although I'm not sure that the author either asks or answers it)...

Ignore any decision-making aspects and stipulate two things (which I think most agree with):
1. Stafford has incredible arm talent
2. Stafford has awful mechanics

You seem to say "just think if he paired improved mechanics with that natural arm talent" (which I tend to agree with) where the author seems to be saying "if he had better mechanics and wasn't so used to weird sidearm throws with his feet unset, he couldn't make this play."

What I would have liked to see the article delve into a little more deeply are the questions:
1. Is there really a tradeoff there (plays that QBs with worse mechanics make that ones with better ones can't), or is it just a matter of arm talent (ie even with better mechanics Stafford makes that play)? And if so how much of one?
2. If there is a tradeoff, where's the optimal point (how good/bad of mechanics should I want my QB to have), and does it depend on other factors?

My gut reaction is that there's little/no tradeoff and better mechanics => better results, but if the author's got a counterargument to that I would have at least liked to see it stated directly.

37
by DisplacedPackerFan :: Tue, 10/22/2013 - 6:02pm

I agree with your gut, and hence my anecdotal inclusion of Favre under coaches that were good about that and my memories of him actually displaying better mechanics and performing better with improved mechanics versus the sloppy feet and throwing motions.

I haven't really looked at the numbers and a sample of one QB is not good either, but I'm not sure if there are other QB's to look at to try and answer the question. I know Rodger's mechanics were reworked in his years on the bench in GB from his college Tedford mechanics (he doesn't hold the ball as high, his drops are different, etc) and I think that has helped him too but we have almost no pro level data on his "pre" mechanics.

38
by N8- (not verified) :: Tue, 10/22/2013 - 6:11pm

COMPLETELY agree about Schwartz. Every Packer fan is thankful that he kept his job another year. If the Lions had better coaching, they would be more dangerous.

41
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Tue, 10/22/2013 - 6:39pm

I'll take Schwartz for now. The Lions have done far, far worse.

30
by bhauck :: Tue, 10/22/2013 - 4:30pm

How has no one mentioned that he's a fine QB with an absolutely monstrous cap figure? Who got a raise on an already ludicrous rookie deal because apparently you always get more money even if no one else in the league would ever pay that much were you to hit the open market? I think the players as a whole are under-compensated for what they bring to the league, so more power to Stafford making every buck he can. But I'm not going to thank him for blowing up the Lions cap.

63
by Jimmy :: Wed, 10/23/2013 - 1:09pm

This is my criticism of Stafford, and it isn't really a criticism of Stafford (unless being 'greedy' is a reason to knock a QB). However the guy may well retire as the highest paid player in the history of the game. Now it isn't Stafford's fault that he was a first round pick back when they were paid stupid sums of money but no one else would have been insisting that he got paid more than Megatron - who for my mind has a greater impact on any success the Lions have on offense.

It is also a more applicable question league wide. I was having a discussion with a Bengals fan on SBN who appears to have come to the conclusion that Dalton is elite. I am thoroughly unconvinced and would be very unhappy to see my team lock up a QB of similar talent for huge money when the straw that stirs the cocktail is AJ Green.

64
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Wed, 10/23/2013 - 1:53pm

I'm definitely bummed that the Lions drafted him #1 prior to the new CBA, but nothing they could do about that. They extended him to get his cap number down. As far as I know he's not getting paid more than Megatron (where did you see that?). If they didn't extend him, he would have hit the open market after this year, and would have been more expensive to keep.

70
by Jimmy :: Thu, 10/24/2013 - 11:56am

According to 'overthecap.com', Stafford's current contract pays him $17.7m per year with $13.8m guaranteed per year; Johnson receives $16.2m per year with $7m/yr guaranteed.

The Lions cap situation isn't going to be improved when they end up building a special train to carry all the money to Suh's house in order to extend him either.

72
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Fri, 10/25/2013 - 12:56pm

But it won't get worse, either. Suh already basically has a max DT contract.

74
by commissionerleaf :: Fri, 10/25/2013 - 5:59pm

Suh already has a max DT contract based on the last couple of years. He will be hitting the market still young, at a position where players can be effective into their thirties, and with a reputation as the game's most disruptive player at his position (not to mention the flexibility to play multiple positions).

I think Suh is probably a $12-14M a year player. The Bears should offer him that, certainly (and before they offer it to Tim Jennings or Charles Tillman). So should the Giants (to name only two obvious teams playing 4-3).

65
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Wed, 10/23/2013 - 7:03pm

On the upside, the Lions don't have to worry about that huge second contract bump everyone else's young guys are going to get.

31
by commissionerleaf :: Tue, 10/22/2013 - 4:34pm

Matt Stafford is the absolute best quarterback you can have in the Joe Flacco/Jake DelHomme "Chuck it and pray" mode. He has amazing arm strength, underestimated mobility, fairly good ability to go through progressions, and arm strength that is essentially unmatched in the National Football League.

Unfortunately, he is merely a good quarterback, rather than a great one, because his mechanics are inconsistent and his decision making is eccentric.

These things may improve, but it seems fairly unlikely that he is suddenly going to wake up and be Peyton Manning with a fancy sci-fi weapon mounted on his right shoulder.

But he is a franchise quarterback. He is good enough that he shouldn't have to answer questions about why he still has a starting job in the NFL. He has two seasons in the top ten for yardage in NFL history (for another ten minutes, I know, but still). That's a counting stat, but it's not nothing.

He's good enough to win a Super Bowl (which is to say he is a better quarterback than Joe Flacco).

42
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Tue, 10/22/2013 - 6:45pm

I think the better answer is that he is a very good QB who has always played for a shoddy line, and his ability to dispose of the ball in the general direction of a WR without generating turnovers covers up for is line and gives scouts conniptions. I won't care until the NFL implements style yardage. He does have a streak of Young Favre in him, where he's prone to cockeyed mechanics and spray and pray, but then, Favre and Stafford have usually done that for sound reasons and to good effect.

What gets lost in the Megatron Effect is that Stafford completes passes to CJ that mortal QBs wouldn't even try. Megatron does better w/ Stafford than with the more traditional, but noodlier-armed Shaun Hill. Stafford and CJ just trust each other, and have a really good sense of what the other is doing.

As to being like Manning -- maybe two people ever have been like that. And Pennington had to -- I had a better arm than him.

49
by commissionerleaf :: Tue, 10/22/2013 - 11:40pm

I don't have a problem with most of that, in particular the Pennington reference... but for injuries and a deficit in arm strength, Pennington would be starting somewhere and chasing Peyton's fancy career numbers. He was very good at football.

Stafford is a good NFL starter, but that's all.

51
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Tue, 10/22/2013 - 11:49pm

Pennington is like a junkballer in baseball -- a late-career Tanana, or one of the Niekros. He got by on study and precision and guile because that was the only way he was going to have a career at all -- because he didn't have a professional arm.

He could have been a Manning -- Manning is basically a durable Pennington with a league-average arm -- but there's no guarantee that had he the physical gifts that he would have put as much effort into the timing and accuracy.

Sort of like how there were a lot of guys with Marino arms, but few Marinos.

58
by Anonymousse (not verified) :: Wed, 10/23/2013 - 10:01am

Pennington DID have an NFL arm. Not a cannon, but his arm was fine.

And then he blew out his rotator cuff. Twice. Pennington would have been a no-doubt hall-of-famer.

59
by Raiderjoe :: Wed, 10/23/2013 - 11:10am

Yeah, guy pretty good. Was 2ns in MVP vote in season with Deoplhins years after all the injuries with NY jets.

45
by Raiderjoe :: Tue, 10/22/2013 - 8:27pm

So many posts. Cnnkot red al. Stafford good QB . at least as good as d. Bledsoe. If ever leaf Loisn to Super Bowl title Stafford will go down as Namath or Stabler or Brees type of guy.

52
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Tue, 10/22/2013 - 11:53pm

He'd be Bobby Layne.

Oddly, three of Detroit's best players have come from Highland Park HS (Stafford, Layne, Doak Walker)

46
by Raiderjoe :: Tue, 10/22/2013 - 8:29pm

H

47
by Guest789 :: Tue, 10/22/2013 - 10:12pm

Agreed.

-----

“Treat a man as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he could be, and he will become what he should be.”

54
by steveNC (not verified) :: Wed, 10/23/2013 - 12:02am

I

53
by td (not verified) :: Wed, 10/23/2013 - 12:01am

a lot of defensiveness in here

57
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Wed, 10/23/2013 - 8:48am

Since this is a stats site, I should bring up that after little less than half the season, Stafford is #6 in DYAR and #8 in DVOA. That's someone you should be able to win with.

61
by fb29 :: Wed, 10/23/2013 - 12:07pm

the bad boys get all the girls. if we had more sexy female football analysts, Stafford would definitely be more highly regarded by the football intelligentsia.