Putting Stafford's performance in the proper perspective
Matthew Stafford and Mark Sanchez will be compared to one another for the entirety of their careers. They declared as underclassmen for the same draft, went top five with plenty of naysayers suggesting the other was the better quarterback, and best of all they're friends in different conferences who could conceivably make for a storybook Super Bowl one day. (Dare to dream, Lions fans.)
Stafford was asked about Sanchez's GQ spread Thursday.
I haven't had any offers like that, he said. My abs aren't as cut as those of Mark Sanchez. But no, I saw that. I'm going to have to give him a call about that later this weekend or something.
Both quarterbacks returned to their teams earlier this week after a few weeks off following rookie minicamp, and both took part in their third full-squad OTA Thursday. Stafford completed 6-of-12 passes in team drills and 5-of-5 in seven-on-seven, while Sanchez, according to the New Jersey Star-Ledger, was 1-of-9 with one interception in 11-on-11 and clearly was outplayed by veteran Kellen Clemens.
What does all that mean? Nothing, really. It's May, no one's in pads and Stafford was throwing against the Lions' defense. OK, that was cheap. True, but cheap. (Damn, I did it again).
Still, no one walked away from either practice thinking they had the next Peyton Manning or Ryan Leaf. Sanchez earned high marks for his footwork and arm strength, though he got taunted by vets and chewed out by coaches for missing open receivers and misdiagnosing reads.
Stafford, meanwhile, has all the requisite tools to be a great NFL quarterback, but so did Jeff George and Tim Couch and so many others. He made a good first impression, but he also slapped his hands in disgust once or twice, something I'm sure he'll do again in the future.
A few other random thoughts:
I wrote about defensive end Eric Hicks yesterday, but only in relation to the zinger I got in on Stafford. Really though, Hicks is an interesting story as a 32-year-old 6-foot-6, 280-pound defensive lineman who's getting a long look for a backup job. Hicks said he was out of football completely last year. He had a tryout with the Redskins during training camp, and spent his fall working out and volunteering at his son Rocco's kindergarten.
I actually had a book club group ... so you can see me, 6-6, 280, and scaring the hell out of little kids, 'Read your book,' Hicks joked. No, we try to do as much of that as possible. We do a lot of volunteer work. We have our own foundation, so we're kind of philanthropic with the Children's Hospital in Kansas City.
Hicks worked out for the Lions on the recommendation of defensive line coach Bob Karmelowicz shortly before the draft he played under Karmelowicz and defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham in Kansas City and signed a week later when the team was still in the market for help up front.
I haven't watched Hicks enough to break down his strengths and weaknesses or chances of making the team, but just looking at the numbers, he's got a shot. Having Karmelowicz in his corner doesn't hurt, either. He could be this regime's Langston Moore.
I got another chance now and I'm going to hold on to it and just hope for the best, he said.
Hicks' charity, by the way, is The Hicks for Hearts Foundation, which he formed after his daughter, Shayla, needed three open-heart surgeries in her first six months of life. She just got a clean bill of health this week, and is celebrating her 10th birthday with a party in Kansas City tonight.
Lions coach Jim Schwartz won over some more Detroiters, no doubt, when was spotted strolling around the concourse of a recent Red Wings game. He said watching a game in Joe Louis Arena was awesome. The thing that's cool about there is you go there and just looking up in the rafters, we were at the very top level so the rafters are like eye level, but to see all those banners and know the consistency you have to play with to do that year in and year out, that's what we all aspire to, Schwartz said. You don't aspire to seeing one lonely banner hanging up and then a lot of flags. I think that's the thing that you take most away, it's that consistency of high standard of excellence. You can't help to be impressed.