Expectations are Rising for Matthew Stafford

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

With more talent, comes more responsibility. It’s something that will be will true of Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions in 2013.

Believe it or not, Stafford will be entering his fifth year as a pro next season. He failed to stay on the field his first two seasons, but battled back and played in all 16 games the past two years. After an astounding 2011 campaign (41 TDs) in which the Lions made the playoffs, Stafford fell back to reality in 2012.

He did hit another career mark, with his league-leading 727 attempts. To put that in perspective, that’s 57 more than Drew Brees. In contrast though, Brees found the end zone 43 times, while Stafford only did on 20 occasions. This is a trend that has to stop in Detroit.

We all know what the Lions do on offense – they throw it all over the place, it’s just what they do. But an average of 45 times per game? I call that, a bit too much. Luckily, the franchise has found an answer in the form of Reggie Bush.

Next to Calvin Johnson, Bush will quickly become one of Stafford’s favorite targets. It’s unbelievable to think how much pressure Bush will take off of his QB with the short passing game. It will automatically raise Stafford’s completion percentage, and it will ultimately reduce the number of downs in which the Lions have to throw. The more short completions they have, the more ideal running situations they will put themselves in.

Five and six yard completions to Bush on first down, will be huge.

So as stated at the beginning – with more talent, comes more responsibility. Expectations for Stafford went up the instant Bush signed his deal to play in the Motor City. He has multiple weapons on offense now, and it’s time for the W’s to start going back up on the board.

I can’t imagine the response in Detroit if the Lions don’t take a step forward next year. They’ve seriously upgraded their offense, and now Stafford has to take the next step as a quarterback and lead this team back into the playoffs.

With four years now under his belt, and a solid array of weapons to throw to, I think we’ll see just how good Matthew Stafford really is in 2013.

 

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