Matthew Stafford will ultimately be measured on wins and losses

Posted Sep 3, 2013

Nobody was happier to get the regular season than quarterback Matthew Stafford, who had his full compliment of weapons available to him at practice Tuesday

Matthew StaffordQB Matthew Stafford (Photo: Gavin Smith/Detroit Lions)

Fair or not, in the NFL, quarterbacks get the most credit for a win and the most blame for a loss. It's just the way it goes.

Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford knows the rule. He gets it. He's been dealing with that kind of pressure dating back to his high school days at Highland Park High School outside of Dallas.

"It is what it is," Stafford said. "We get a ton of credit when we win and a ton of blame when we lose. (Reality is) probably somewhere in between.

"This is a team sport, but at the same time, in this league especially, if your quarterback plays well, you have a chance to win the game. I'm no stranger to that."

He's no stranger to the criticism that’s grown louder and the critics that challenge his mechanics, or his toughness before that, or anything else.

"I'm my own worst critic ... except for some of those guys are pretty bad," said Stafford, laughing. "Don’t get me wrong, I take a close look at my game at all times and make sure I’m playing my best."

Stafford got all the praise after he threw 41 touchdowns in 2011 and the Lions won 10 games and made the playoffs for the first time since 1999.

Only a year later that praise turned to harsh criticism when his touchdowns dropped by 21 to 20 and the Lions won just four games.

Fair or not, that's the reality of the position. And it's the measurement for which Stafford will once again be judged as the Lions began preparations for another regular season on Tuesday.

The Lions will go only as far as Stafford will take them, and Stafford feels he's ready to take them farther than he has before.

"I've been through a lot," said Stafford, who's entering his fifth season after being the No. 1-overall pick in 2009.

"I've been through obviously a 10-6 season and I've been through a 4-12 season. I've seen just how close that difference is as far as what a quarterback can do to help his team win or lose. I'm determined to be on the winning end of it."

Head coach Jim Schwartz is confident he will.

"We have all the confidence in the world in Matt (Stafford)," Schwartz said. "Matt has good command over what we're going to do. All those pieces will fit together very well."

No one could have been more excited to begin on-field preparations for a regular season game than Stafford. It was the first time in weeks he's had his full compliment of weapons.

Receiver Calvin Johnson was back on the practice field after missing the last three weeks because of a knee bruise. Johnson's return had a domino effect on the rest of the offense.

Receiver Nate Burleson was back in his more comfortable slot position and the Lions finally began scheming against an opponent with the Reggie Bush/Calvin Johnson dynamic to feature.

"It's nice being out there at practice having the full compliment today and just having guys in roles they're comfortable with ready to go and play," Stafford said.

It's why, frankly, Stafford put little stock into some of the struggles by the starters on offense in the preseason.

"It was a different dynamic," he said of the preseason. "We really had only all the parts of our offense for one, maybe two series in the first game.

"For me it was more of getting us in the right place and moving along and making sure our offensive line was doing the right thing, which they were doing a great job, and just trying out some of the new things we were working on in training camp.

For Stafford, the preseason is long gone. The regular season is here. The only thing that matters now is preparing and winning, because it's ultimately the win-loss record he'll be judged on – fair or not.