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Matthew Stafford Will Get Worse before He Gets Better

Keith SheltonAnalyst ISeptember 14, 2009

ORCHARD PARK, NY - SEPTEMBER 3:  Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions looks on during the preseason game against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium on September 3, 2009 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

That was pretty bad wasn't it?

Two rookie quarterbacks debuted on Sunday. The Detroit Lions' Matthew Stafford, and the New York Jets' Mark Sanchez. While Sanchez was adequate, Stafford was borderline bad.

Yet, Stafford almost certainly has the higher upside. He may not have shown it against the New Orleans Saints, though.

On Sunday, Detroit's shiny new quarterback completed a God-awful 43.2 percent of his passes for 205 yards and three interceptions. He targeted star receiver Calvin Johnson 14 times during the game, but only completed three of those passes to him.

The fact is, Stafford has plenty of offensive talent around him, but it's going to take some time for him to figure out how to use it.

Prized rookie tight end, Brandon Pettigrew didn't have a catch all game, and only two wide receivers caught a pass. Dennis Northcutt and Derrick Williams couldn't be found.

There are things to like about him now, such as his big arm that can reach all over the field, and his aggressiveness. However, those could also be weaknesses at the present time, when you factor in that Stafford's brain hasn't quite caught up to his arm yet.

Things will click eventually, but don't count on it happening next week, or the week after that, or for the three weeks after that even.

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Stafford and the Lions' next five games are against Minnesota, Washington, Chicago, Pittsburgh, and Green Bay. All five of those teams have quality defenses.

The kid is going to have some very bad games. The Saint's secondary isn't exactly top tier in the NFL and he threw three picks to them, what will happen in the weeks to come?

Still, Detroit's front office absolutely must stick with Stafford. They made the decision to start him in week one and pulling him after a possible 0-5 start would only set him back further.

We can take solace in the coaching staff, which I think is finally the right mesh to get this team turned around. I hope I can still say that by the end of this season.

The Lions must take their lumps and think of the future. That's the only blessing that comes with going 0-16 during the previous season. There are no expectations for this year other than the expectations of the fans to see the Lions develop a quarterback.

So brace yourselves for more humiliation, it's coming right around the bend. Keep in mind, though, that good times should be coming in the future.

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