Schwartz: Stafford Tough, Must Be Productive

Jim Schwartz is aware of how tough rookie QB Matthew Stafford is, but it isn't enough ...

Before the Lions drafted Matthew Stafford first overall in April, Detroit fans worried he would be like their last high-pick quarterback.

Joey Harrington, the No. 3 pick in 2002, didn't click with his teammates and went 18-37 as a starter. He has said he was handed the starting job too quickly and lost his confidence in the negative Detroit environment.

But the Lions drafted Stafford and started him immediately partly because they liked his makeup, and they feel he has validated that so far.

"It's a tough business, and you have to be physically and mentally tough to play quarterback in this league," Schwartz said. "There's a lot of attention at the position, and the physical nature of the position is demanding.

"And it's not just on the field, what you see on Sunday. It's practice and getting through things like that and going out and practicing on a Wednesday and a Thursday after an experience like this.

"I think he's shown a lot of signs that he can deal with this."

While playing through a right knee injury, Stafford was harassed, hurried and hit the whole game Sunday at Minnesota. But he escaped some potential sacks, taking only three, and avoided interceptions, after throwing five last week at Seattle.

"Thank goodness he did, because it would have looked a lot worse," Schwartz said. "Matt did a really good job of getting away from some of those situations. He did take care of the ball.

"But it's hard to be proud of somebody when that happens. Did he show resilience? Yeah, he did. He's a tough player. He battled like crazy in that game, as did the whole team. Battling is not enough. It's about production. It's about the score on the scoreboard. I don't want to give any gold stars for somebody playing tough."

Notebook:

  • Cornerback Jack Williams lasted only one defensive snap for the Lions after they claimed him off waivers from Denver last week. When the second half began Sunday, cornerback Phillip Buchanon took extra time to deal with a knee problem because the Lions had the ball. But running back Kevin Smith fumbled on the first offensive play, so Williams, who had played only on special teams in the first half, had to make his debut on defense. The Vikings' Adrian Peterson promptly rumbled for a 27-yard gain, leaving Williams in his wake with a bad knee injury.

    "It's going to end his season, and we'll make a roster move pretty quick on that one," coach Jim Schwartz said.

  • Wide receiver Bryant Johnson dropped what would have been a touchdown pass right before halftime Sunday. The Lions settled for a field goal, and they needed every point they could get in what turned out to be a 27-10 loss. But there is only so much Schwartz can do, even though he has benched several players this season for poor performances.

    "If we benched every guy for a drop, we might not have anybody left because everybody, including Calvin Johnson, has dropped balls this year," Schwartz said. "That's a play that we need to finish. There's definitely accountability there, but Bryant has been extremely sound assignment-wise, in blocking, all the other things."

  • RG Stephen Peterman might miss significant time with an ankle injury he suffered Sunday. The Lions were waiting on test results Monday, but they were preparing to replace him, possibly with someone outside the current roster.
  • S Marquand Manuel suffered a shoulder injury Sunday. The Lions were waiting for test results Monday.
  • WR Derrick Williams suffered a hip injury Sunday. The Lions were waiting for test results Monday.
  • S Kalvin Pearson suffered a hamstring injury Sunday. The Lions were waiting for test results Monday.

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