Almost equally is universal is the belief that Stafford has everything he needs to be that franchise guy, if only he could average more than seven games a season.
In limited time, Stafford has shown flashes of greatness (along with flashes of still being a rookie), and Lions fans are chomping at the bit to get him in the game and see him grow into his role as future leader of the franchise.
Lions fans are notoriously optimistic about their team, and to an extent, this is piling on. But there are a number of signs that show promise for Stafford's performance and health in 2011.
Of course, the signs aren't all positive. But we'll save the negativity for some other time.
Much of the frenzy surrounding Stafford's injury troubles center around the fact that he re-injured his throwing shoulder against the Jets after rehabbing it.
And while I'll admit it didn't fill me with joy to see Stafford hobbling over to the sidelines, it wasn't entirely unexpected.
Stafford's was an injury that was always going to require surgery. It was just a matter of whether he was going to be able to play through the pain and avoid re-injuring it.
He tried, and he ended up popping it back out of joint on a fairly routine play.
Now that he has had surgery on the shoulder and fully recovered from said surgery, he is practicing with the team and reports being as healthy as ever.
It is worth noting that Stafford has not re-injured any prior injury he had surgically repaired. He had surgery on his throwing shoulder, and it should hold up next season.
Of course, most of Stafford's injuries have been a result of bad luck. He'll need that luck to improve next season if he wants to stay out there.
But at the very least, he has made the right decision to heal up his shoulder, and it will take more than his own body weight to break it again.
It still surprises me that the Lions went so long with a sub-par receiving corps, considering their draft history.
But then, I suppose it probably shouldn't, considering the circumstances of all those high draft picks (Millen).
Though it took some time, it appears as though the Lions are finally going to have a complete stable of wide receivers.
That means more targets for Stafford, more open receivers, less dropped passes, and most importantly, more trust.
The trust thing will take a while, but once he figures out that he can wing the ball out to his receivers and they can go get it, he won't have to hold onto the ball as long.
And whatever your feelings are about Titus Young, can you tell me you don't feel better about him in the lineup than you do Bryant Johnson?
Much was made during the draft season of the Lions' "need to protect Matthew Stafford."
What they meant by this was "draft a new left tackle." Which is understandable, but mostly hogwash.
That's not to say that the Lions' offensive line is beyond reproach. They definitely could use an upgrade. But blaming Stafford's injuries on the offensive line alone is an act of ignorance.
Only one of Stafford's four injuries were a direct result of the offensive line, and that was Julius Peppers' torching of Jeff Backus. But Peppers is a future Hall-of-Famer, and he has done worse in his career to better left tackles.
That was one bad play, but most of the game Peppers looked like he does in this picture: neutralized (albeit by two people).
Two of Stafford's other injuries occurred out of the pocket, and the other was after a lengthy scramble.
The offensive line is going to need a rebuild in the next two or three years, but in the meantime, it's not as bad as advertised.
When a team has a poor defense, they tend to let up a lot of points.
When they let up a lot of points, they tend to have to pass a lot to catch up.
When they have to pass a lot, three things tend to happen to the quarterback.
1. Throwing 50 passes a game, he inflates his stats (think 2007 Jon Kitna).
2. Forced to take chances to score, he throws a bunch of interceptions (think 2009 Stafford/2007 Kitna).
3. With the defense able to tee off on the pass, the quarterback gets beat down (think 2007 Kitna, as well as everybody who took snaps in 2008 and 2009).
With an improved defense, these pressures are lifted. Stafford will, in most games this season, have the ability to make the smart play and find the open man, instead of forcing passes in an attempt to make up a 17-point defecit.
Better yet, the Lions will be able to maintain offensive balance in most situations, which will keep opposing defenses from pinning their ears back on the pass rush, which will help keep Stafford upright and healthy.
Though some may disagree with the method, the Lions are clearly committed to improving the run game.
Mikel Leshoure brings some punch to a run game that has lacked it for years, and better yet, he's not the only talented running back on the team. It would seem the Lions had a power/speed combo in mind from the very beginning.
When the Lions drafted Jahvid Best, they presumably had a Best/Kevin Smith tandem in mind. Given Smith's performance and injury history, it seems they bailed on that plan in favor of a Best/Leshoure tandem.
Regardless of who carries the ball, the Lions need to establish some offensive balance, and with a little health and a little luck, they'll be able to do just that.
Stafford will have a lot more success passing on a defense that knows it can be gashed with a run.
Maybe I'm reaching here, but home field advantage does matter. When the Lions played the Steelers at Ford Field in 2009, it was about a 50/50 crowd.
That can't happen, and it doesn't appear it will going forward. The Lions are reportedly way ahead of the curve on selling season ticket packages, and that's even with a great deal of uncertainty regarding the existence of an actual season.
That's a testament to the loyalty of Lions fans, and how hungry they are to see a winning football team. And whenever the season does happen, Lions fans will turn out en masse, perhaps more consistently than they have in years.
The home crowd turning out won't be the difference between Stafford having a breakout year and him completely flopping, but it certainly can't hurt.
The Lions didn't intend to sit Stafford his first two years, and he certainly didn't have a Hall-of-Fame quarterback on the roster to learn from.
But the way things shook out, Stafford ended up on the bench a whole bunch anyway. To an extent, that has slowed his development. But there is a certain paradigm in the NFL right now that says quarterbacks have to start right away if they're high first-rounders.
Aaron Rodgers is the counter argument. Rodgers rode the bench behind Brett Favre for three years, all the while learning the mental and theoretical aspects of the game.
Today, Rodgers is one of the most calculating quarterbacks in professional football, and he has been one of the league's better quarterbacks since his first season.
Stafford may not have gotten that valuable game time, but he should have made up for that time in the classroom, and since he's had the same offensive coordinator every year, he should be apply to apply some of that knowledge on the field next year.