After Proving He's For Real, Stafford Proves He Needs Help

Thomas KnappContributor INovember 26, 2009

For all the talk about Schwartz using the Thanksgiving Day game as a rallying point, the result was the same. 

For all his talk about how this game meant something, the result was the same.

Here we are, Lions and NFL fans alike, on a Thanksgiving evening, after sitting through another Turkey Day stinker where the Lions were outclassed at every aspect of the game.

The final score was lopsided to begin with, and the truth is, the game wasn't nearly as close as the score suggested.  It could have easily been 45-5, and really, if not for the Packers playing down the Lions for the first fifteen minutes, probably would have been.

Goodell, it's time to take Ford's toy away, and tell him he can have it back when he fields a competitive team.  That's the only embarrassment left for an organization that has proven they have no shame. 

Take away the Thanksgiving Game from Detroit.  Let them cry and complain and threaten to take away advertisement dollars.

Call their bluff. 

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Throw them on some Saturday night or Thursday afternoon for their contractually obligated national game.  I'm tired of watching this team lay an egg on a national holiday.

They don't deserve the honor.

Set the stipulation as such; they can regain their annual tradition once their team is 8-8. 

A .500 season.

This should not be hard...which means for the Lions, they'd be back on Thanksgiving sometime after 2015.

Now, with that rant aside, it's quite amazing how Matt Stafford goes from awesome to atrocious in four days.

You could blame his performance on his still sore shoulder.  But it's no accident.  Two plays highlight what Stafford has to deal with.

One happens just before the end of the first half.  The Lions are set up for a Hail Mary pass... or possibly another throw ten yards out of bounds.

We'll never know, because Stafford was running for his life within two seconds, and eventually sacked...from a three-man rush.

Last I checked, the Offensive Line consists of five people.  Now, I'm not a statistician by trade, but five blockers on three rushers should not be terribly good odds if you're a defense looking to get into the backfield.

In fact, I place the chances that a quarterback should be sacked on a three man rush as slightly higher than my chances to score with Sofia Vergara.

Meanwhile, we have the Packers first touchdown drive, with Aaron Rogers having twelve seconds (I wish this was hyperbole) before being able to hit Donald Driver on a sixty-four yard pass play, and was never touched or hurried or flushed out of the pocket.

I know Rogers had twelve seconds because at this point in his career, Donald Driver runs about a ten second forty yard dash.

I hear the talk about how the Lions need to upgrade their cornerbacks, and this is true, but I don't care how good of a secondary you have, if you give any quarterback in the NFL that long, they are going to find a receiver and complete a pass for a big gain.

Even JaMarcus Russell.

The Lions continue to be beaten badly on the line of scrimmage, on both sides of the ball.  Stafford hasn't changed that.  Pettigrew hasn't changed that. 

No Wide Receiver or Cornerback in this league or in the draft is going to change that.

Nothing will change that except a dedication to not go any further until the Lions have an offensive and defensive line that can at least hold their own.

At this point, it really doesn't matter which side they focus on first.  It's going to take at least two offseasons to recycle out the waste that is currently at the point of attack.

What's sad is that much of the "talent" on the line of scrimmage isn't even of the potential talent variety. 

Backus isn't getting any better. Raiola isn't getting any better.  Loper is a good backup. 

On the offensive line, only Cherlious really comes across as having any real potential to be better than what he is now (and even that is pushing it).  Everyone else screams inconsistently mediocre.

Defensively, Turk McBride has shown flashes, as has Sammie Lee Hill.  No one else has shown me anything that leads me to think more time will smooth the rough edges to their skills. 

Avril...doesn't look like he cares to get better.  He's just there.

Dewayne White wasn't even the consensus backup behind Simeon Rice in Tampa Bay

Grady Jackson was done the last time he played on Thanksgiving...as a Packer.

Stafford needs help, and he needs it where it all starts.  Until the Lions have a defensive line that can pressure the quarterback and an offensive line that keeps the pressure off him, these games are going to be the norm, and ones like Cleveland the exception.

There's no better time than to start now.

Martin Mayhew, take your draftboard, and scribble every name that has WR, TE, RB, CB, LB, S, P, or K off it.  There should only be DL and OL names on that clipboard once you head into the war room.

Anything else is only delaying any chance to return to respectability.


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