Friday, August 21, 2009

Lions need to learn from their past mistakes

Recently, I was driving home from work and listening to “The Huge Show”, a sports talk radio show. The host, Bill Simonson, was discussing the Detroit Lions with a columnist from the Grand Rapids Press, Brian VanOchten.

Both really liked the way that quarterback Matthew Stafford, the Lions top pick in the draft this past year, played in his first pre season game. During the time that I was listening, the consensus was that Stafford should be the starter going into the season.

I totally disagree with this thinking.

I really don’t understand why people are in such a rush to have Stafford in the starting lineup. The Lions drafted him to be their franchise quarterback and lead them into the future. Why would you want to push him out onto the field before he’s ready?

I didn’t have the opportunity to see the Lions first pre season game, but I did read the box score. Stafford put up some decent stats, going 7-14 for 144 yards and a touchdown with one interception. Not bad for his first outing.

One thing that people don’t seem to be taking into consideration is the fact that this was a pre season game. Anyone that has ever watched a pre season NFL game knows that the starters don’t play very long, especially in the first pre season game.

Stafford, who didn’t even start, was playing against backup players. In my book, completing half of your passes against second string players is average. It shows to me that Stafford isn’t ready to be a starting NFL quarterback yet.

The Lions were winless last season. They are trying to rebuild their franchise and restore faith in their fans. Putting Stafford out onto the field before he’s ready would be the worst thing that they could do. Remember Joey Harrington?

If the Lions are indeed going to turn the page on their pitiful past, then they should not rush Matthew Stafford. Just because he was the top pick in the draft this past year and makes a lot of money is no reason to throw him to the wolves.

Lion’s fans have suffered through a lot in the past; bad draft picks, incompetent coaches, and the worst General Manager in NFL history in Matt Millen. One thing that people have to realize is that it is going to take time to fix all of the mistakes that have happened over the years.

Turning the Lions into a winning franchise isn’t going to happen overnight. It won’t even happen this year. It is going to take some time. The Lions fans that are clamoring for Stafford to play right away need to realize that success isn’t going to come just by playing him.

If the Lions had brought Joey Harrington along slowly, instead of playing him right away, would this even be a topic of discussion?

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