On Stafford's injuries and pass protection

June, 20, 2011
6/20/11
2:30
PM ET
It didn't take long for a pet peeve of the Matthew Stafford debate to rear up Monday morning. In fact, Nabicus raised it with the very first comment: "Stafford's career/health are directly connected to the Lions' Offensive Line (or lack thereof)."

To be fair, many of you share Nabicus' thought. It's natural to correlate the health of a quarterback with the pass blocking of his offensive line. But of Stafford's four major injuries since the start of 2009, I think we can attribute maybe 1 1/2 to the Detroit Lions' offensive line. Normally I would wait a day to let a follow-up post percolate, but let's just nip this one in the bud now.

Below, I've listed the circumstances of each injury and my views on it. Feel free to agree, disagree or roll your eyes.

Injury No. 1
Date:
October 4, 2009
Specifics:
Dislocated right knee cap
Circumstances:
Under a pass rush from Chicago Bears defensive linemen Tommie Harris and Adewale Ogunleye, Stafford left the pocket and scrambled to his right. Ogunleye grabbed him from behind, twisting him down awkwardly and causing the injury.
O-line fault: Partial. Ogunleye broke free from right tackle Gosder Cherilus and right guard Stephen Peterman, but Stafford also could have avoided the injury by throwing the ball away instead of scrambling.

Injury No. 2
Date:
November 22, 2009
Specifics: Left shoulder separation
Circumstances: In desperation mode at the end of a game against the Cleveland Browns, Stafford scrambled behind the line of scrimmage for more than eight seconds to buy time for receivers on a Hail Mary throw. An instant after the throw, Browns defensive tackle C.J. Mosley drilled him into the ground.
O-line fault: None to me. On a broken play like that, it's almost impossible to maintain blocks that long. It's the nature of a Hail Mary.

Injury No. 3
Date:
September 12, 2010
Specifics: Right shoulder separation
Circumstances: Bears defensive end Julius Peppers beat left tackle Jeff Backus in a one-on-one situation, sacking Stafford and causing the injury.
O-line fault: Yes. Technically, Backus gave up the sack. But let's just say he isn't the only left tackle in the NFL to get beat by Peppers.

Injury No. 4
Date:
November 7, 2010
Specifics: Right shoulder separation
Circumstances: Stafford took off on a scramble, gaining 7 yards on second-and-6. New York Jets linebacker Bryan Thomas ankle-tackled him from behind, and Stafford landed on his right shoulder.
O-line fault: None. Stafford wasn't pressured but saw a clear opening to the first-down marker.

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