Matthew Stafford: The Arrival of the Lion King

Kyle Gibbons@@FI2ANCHISEAnalyst IIIJuly 16, 2011

Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) runs away from Jets linebacker Bryan Thomas. Photo Courtesy Robin Buckson / The Detroit News
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) runs away from Jets linebacker Bryan Thomas. Photo Courtesy Robin Buckson / The Detroit News

Detroit Lions starting quarterback Matthew Stafford enters the 2011 season just as he did the 2010 season: A talent believed by many of being capable of becoming the next big name in football.

In an interview with NFL.com writers Marcus Smith and David Benhaim, Stafford was asked to give fantasy football owners one reason to make him their No. 1 quarterback in the draft.

Stafford replied by saying:

“That’s my number one question asked, should they pick me up in fantasy...I’m going to play all 16 (games), I’ve got Calvin Johnson, Nate Burleson, Brandon Pettigrew. I’m throwing the ball to Jahvid Best and Leshoure out of the backfield. I feel there is going to be a lot of points put up.”

The Detroit Lions young gun even addressed his critics who have blamed his injury history on his inability to step up in the pocket:

“I won't alter my playing style at all. Injuries happen, that’s part of the game,” Stafford said.

Though Stafford's injury history is a legitimate concern, one thing is clear: Martin Mayhew and the Detroit Lions have surrounded the former No.1 overall selection with a multitude of explosive talent.

Detroit’s got two wide receivers and a running back capable of scoring anytime Stafford puts the ball in their hands.

In an offense that throws first and asks questions later, Stafford could post big numbers in 2011.

In an article I wrote back in June I said, “Stafford has everything you look for in a great quarterback and has shown the ability to finish games. He is surrounded by playmakers, has a laser rocket arm, is knowledgeable of the offense and has the mindset to lead the Detroit Lions to the promise land. He is moxy defined.”

I also alluded to his potential when I anticipated him to play an entire season. A season in which I projected him to pass for 3,700 yards, 39 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.

After a strong offseason in which he has completely rehabilitated himself after offseason shoulder surgery, it looks as if 2011 could be the year.

Could 2011 mark the arrival of Matthew Stafford?

In one word: yes.

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