It didn’t take long for Matthew Stafford to become a favorite to win this year’s MVP award. The Detroit Lions quarterback has thrown 18 touchdowns and just two interceptions in his first five games, leading the team to a 3-2 record and making them one of the favorites in the NFC North.. Is Stafford for real?
It’s a bit too early to say yes, but he has shown that he is among the best quarterbacks in the NFL. He has put himself into elite company with his start this season, as only Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers have started their careers with five consecutive games of at least two touchdowns and no interceptions. Stafford has not played as well as the two players mentioned, but he is certainly among good company.
Of course, stats are one thing. To truly appreciate Stafford’s value to this team, you have to watch him play. He brings a toughness to the Lions that they have not had before at quarterback. He isn’t just content with completing short passes either. Stafford has shown an ability to make deep throws with ease, spreading his 18 touchdowns across seven different receivers. He does not have a go-to receiver at the moment, but this lack of experience shows with some bad decisions and poor throws on occasion. However, he more than makes up for these blunders with incredible plays that few other quarterbacks can make.
The Lions are not a very talented team on defense, but their offense has enough talent to keep them in the game at all times. Stafford’s ability to spread the ball around and make big plays has already brought back memories of Brett Favre for some fans. You have to remember that Favre put together his historic start to his career all before Twitter, or even ESPN. Stafford has the tools and the Washington Redskins defense coming up next week to continue his hot start.
If you have the chance, watch Stafford play. He does not have elite statistics, but he sure plays like it. His mental toughness combined with his rare talent will make him an MVP candidate for many years to come if he can continue to keep the Lions playing well.
The start that Stafford is off to this year has been phenomenal, and the stats back it up. I have to agree with Tim’s comments on Stafford’s mental toughness- he certainly showed a lot of it last season when he was sacked 19 times in the first two games alone. With his ability to take a hit, I think it’s safe to say that Stafford will be around for a while.
Tim sums up this article nicely- if you haven’t gotten the chance to watch Stafford play yet, make sure you take the time to do so. After watching him against Chicago last Sunday, he is certainly headed in the right direction. If you were one of the fans who thought that Stafford was just not an NFL caliber QB because of his poor 2008 performance, you owe it to yourself to watch him play this season. He has Detroit in first place already- just imagine what he’ll do when they get healthy! Note: This article was written prior to Detroit’s Monday night game against Houston.