In Matthew Stafford We Trust? Pat Caputo Weighs In On Stafford's Progress

"Can he keep doing it? That's always the question with Stafford."

Caputo & Fithian
October 13, 2019 - 1:10 pm

97.1 The Ticket -- The Lions have a crucial game at Green Bay Monday night that could dictate the feel of the rest of the season moving forward. Sitting at 2-1-1 on the young season, a fifth straight win over the rival Packers Monday night at Lambeau Field would put the Lions on top in the NFC North and generate more optimism about the Lions that many fans didn't expect heading into this season.

A major part of their early-season success has been attributable to quarterback Matthew Stafford, who ranked inside the top 10 in passing yards per game and QBR heading into Week 6.

97.1 The Ticket's Pat Caputo points out that Stafford "had made terrific progress for a couple years" before a disappointing 2018 season under first-year head coach Matt Patricia last fall.

"In 2016-2017, completion percentage was up, yards per attempt were up. The Lions, if he didn't play so well, would have only won four or five games, rather than nine games. But last year, he clearly took a step back and was responsible, in my opinion, you can put three or four losses directly on his shoulders," Caputo said.

But in the early going of the 2019 season, Stafford seems to have turned things around, much thanks to new offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell.

"Now, Jim Bob Cooter was removed as offensive coordinator. Darrell Bevell comes in and we see the first quarter of this season where Matthew Stafford has played excellent football,
 Caputo said. "He's moving the ball around to a number of different targets."

"Darrell Bevell's play design, his sequencing of play calls is much better and Stafford is taking advantage of his offense like a duck takes to water. He has been much better, much more efficient, much more proficient and has played excellent football"

But Caputo says the question is: can Stafford maintain and sustain this production throughout the entire season?

"Because we've seen it in the past, where he has played very well -- even last year he had three out of four games, they went to 3-3 and had the game against Seattle and then all of a sudden 'you know what' came in a hand basket," he said.

Stafford has shown off his oft-talked about arm talent and his willingness to throw the ball down field is slowly returning.

"But can he keep doing it? That's always the question with Stafford. It's like once you start to trust him, all of a sudden he shows you he can't. But he's also, at times when you get down on him, come up again. Is this time it for real?"

What do you think? Will the Lions continue to get the Matthew Stafford that new Packers coach Matt LaFleur called elite? The Matthew Stafford that Carson Palmer called "the most talented quarterback that I’ve ever seen?" 

Or will it be more like the Matthew Stafford portrayed by a Bleacher Report video that had Lions fans and even some players up in arms?

We'll see Monday night whether Stafford can keep the progress going and land the Lions in first place for the time being.