This season I had thought that the Lions may have turned the corner. Calvin Johnson was coming into his own and so was Kevin Smith. Then the bottom dropped out Kevin Smith ended up on the IR and now so has first year quarterback Matt Stafford. This weekend, Drew Stanton gets the first start of his NFL career.
Matt Stafford had himself a solid rookie campaign. He threw for 2267 yards, had 13 touchdowns and 20 interceptions. I’ll take that for a rookie, being fed to the proverbial Lions (no pun intended). He proved himself to be a keeper by winning more games in his rookie year than the Lions had won in it’s previous two seasons. Now he won’t be the rookie of the year but if I was a Lions fan I would be excited about his prospects.
At least I would have been until it was revealed yesterday that he was going to undergo knee surgery. Now I may be jumping the gun on this, but there haven’t been too many young quarterbacks that have a knee surgery and don’t skip a beat. The Lions know this and I wouldn’t be surprised if they select another quarterback in the first few rounds of the 2010 draft. At least McMillian isn’t running the show and there is a chance they might go after what they really need, which is an offensive line. They should go tackle in the first round.
If the Lions were to go out and spend some money on the line, good things could happen. Stafford will be less mobile after this surgery and with better protection, it will get him more time, which leaves more time for reads. A solid tackle would open up holes for the very talented Kevin Smith. If Smith can go a whole season without some kind of season ending mishap, this Lions team could win 6-7 games next season, then build again towards the future.
I won’t lie though, the knee surgery is a big hit for the Lions. No one really cares because even Lion’s fans aren’t too interested in day to day happenings with the team. I think Stafford will be back, but with much less mobility. If he can get time to learn to read defenses better, he doesn’t really need the mobility, especially if Calvin Johnson can get open and go vertical.
In short look for Stafford’s cards to decline in value over the off season, as many collectors look to see if he can come back. Right now his autographed cards run anywhere from $25 – $75. I expect them to drop at least $10 over the off season. That might be a good time to pick up some of his cards. I saw a patch of his go for less than $10 in the past week. The card below runs about $35 and is one of my favorite versions of his cards.