Stafford Down The Count

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    Here we go again. The face of the Detroit Lions franchise is back on the shelf. Another injury to his shoulder, but unsubstantiated reports say it will put him out for the season.

    The $40 million man that the Lions hoped would uplift their franchise to higher heights has instead brought their faithful down to the here-we-go-again position.

    What are the Lions to do with their brittle quarterback? They owe him too much money to discard him, but if they are serious about winning they have to do something.

    Career journeyman Shawn Hill stepped in for Stafford after his knockout in game one versus the Chicago Bears, but Hill is just a journeyman. Too many are giving him a free pass, but he did not win games for the Lions or its fans. Hill is not the answer for fans longing for a winning season.

    I do not know where the Lions should turn.

    Stafford has played in just two games this season and suffered a right shoulder injury in both, and the injury he suffered against the Jets kept him from playing against the Bills.

    Lions coach Jim Schwartz said the team is confident with Hill or Drew Stanton under center. He feels Hill has played reasonably well in Stafford’s place, I disagree. He was just a backup who did not take the Lions to a winning level.

    Many are questioning if the Lions should cut their losses with the injury prone Stafford. I say not yet, but many of my readers and friends are believe Stafford is an NFL bust. I’m not ready to go that far yet, but he is a giant question mark.

    It is impossible to not acknowledge that Stafford has played in only three games this season. It is painful not only to Stafford but to the Lions fans. Their hope for the future has not been able to even stay on the field. It is hard to blame him completely, but what else are the longtime Lions fans to do?

    Are the Lions just simply cursed? A routine play on a short scramble by Stafford led to him being knocked out for the season? It did not even seem to be that hard of a hit in many fans’ eyes.

    The 2-6 Lions are by many accounts the best 2-6 team in the NFL, but how does that really help the bottom line? I do not care if the Lions played lights out, if their record is 2-6 then that is simply not acceptable.
    How do the longsuffering fans deal with this culture of losing: simply say we lost another very close game? Or if it were not for injuries we would have won that game?

    “There’s no worries for us,” Lions coach Schwartz said. “Yeah, we are starting over from square one, this is the NFL.”

    How are the fans to take yet another injury from the face of the franchise drafted No. 1 overall last year, and in whom the Lions invested $72 million?

    With 11 missed games already in his NFL career, Stafford has something else to shake — a tag as being injury-prone in addition to the Lions’ penchant for losing.

    Do the Lions go out and spend money to get a starter type quarterback? What should we expect from the remainder of the season? Should the fans roll over and just take another under .500 seasons in stride? Or should the Lions hierarchy look around the corner and seek a deal?

    Whatever the outcome, the Lions are on pace for yet another losing season. Will we have to wait until next year for the Lions and Stafford to give us a small glimmer of hope that Detroit can have a winning team?

    Leland Stein can be reached at

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