No Clipboard: Stafford Will Make Impact on Field

Long Island SoundContributor IJune 30, 2009

ALLEN PARK, MI - MAY 01:  Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan of the Detroit Lions talks with Matthew Stafford #9 during rookie orientation camp at the Detroit Lions Headquarters and Training Facility on May 1, 2009 in Allen Park, Michigan.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

The big debate is whether who will make a bigger impact this season: Matthew Stafford or Mark Sanchez?  For this to even happen Stafford would need to start which I am totally against.  Let Culpepper enjoy getting sacked 5 times every Sunday.


The question of who will make a bigger impact is easy. Stafford must improve upon a team that won a record ZERO games.  To make an impact on a team it requires one to build upon what their respective team did the previous year.  Stafford has to improve from the likes of Drew Stanton, Dan Orlovsky, Drew Henson, and Daunte Culpepper. 

                I may be crazy, but I doubt Georgia head coach Mark Richt taught Stafford to run out of the end zone and give up a safety.  But that just may be me,


                Stafford enters the NFL in a scenario as he was in Georgia.  He has a skilled running attack anchored by Kevin Smith, resembling Knowshon Moreno’s role with the Bulldogs.  Julio Jones proved to be Stafford’s go to guy, but now he has the luxury of throwing to one of the best receivers in the league in Calvin Johnson. 


                Georgia featured a professional style offense which will benefit the number one overall pick.  Moreno was a focal point of what Georgia did every game.  Kevin Smith and the offensive line will take that style of offense as far as it can.


The main difference in Stafford’s current predicament is now it is the NFL, and his offensive line cannot block Jason Sehorn.  Stafford has the skill set to make a dramatic impact on a franchise that went 0-16.  We all know about to arm strength, but playing in the SEC, Stafford took some shots and he has the athleticism, savvy, and poise to lead the Lions to some wins.

First year head coach, Jim Schwartz, has been extremely persistent on the approach of players will start if:

1.They are the best at their position

2. They are ready to play.  

Both conditions must be met, it won't be one or the other.

The rookie head coach has been happy with what he has seen from Stafford, conveying he is showing passing abilities that made the Lions take him with the first pick in the draft.  Schwartz will not budge to media or fans on this concept.  When Schwartz sees Stafford as the best QB and ready to play, he will carry this team back into the win column.

As for Mark Sanchez, he has to improve upon a playoff bound team that had Pro Bowl Quarterback Brett Favre for the first half of the season.  Some forget about those early wins where Brett asked for the ball to convert on the goal line and he did.  We all know about the second half failure, but Sanchez is being asked to be as effective as Farve was in the first half of the season.  

Comparing Sanchez to Atlanta's Matt Ryan situation is not the same.  Ryan wasn't saddled with high expectations.  Ryan was able to lean on Micheal Turner and the offensive line was improved when the Falcons took Sam Baker in 2008.  The Jets moved from the number 17 pick to select Sanchez, and expect him to be effective enough to carry the Jets into the playoffs.  I’m not buying it. 

As for the USC professional system, just look at their pedigree of quarterbacks that started in their rookie year.  Carson Palmer sat one year. Matt Cassel we all know and John David Booty hasn’t seen time yet in Minnesota.  Matt Leinart?  Hmmm. USC rookie that was "polished and ready."  NOT.   

The pressure is all on Sanchez now and away from the number one pick Stafford.  The Jets get to play the Tom Brady Patriots twice, the Wildcat with Pat White twice, Tennessee, Carolina, and Indy. 

If Stafford sees the field in 2009, he will make a far more tremendous impact on his team.  Not just from an easier schedule, but because he has the tools and less pressure to improve upon an 0-16 team.   One of his knocks was his accuracy, but he is fortunate enough to be able to toss it up to Calvin Johnson.

Mark Richt Debate of the Week @