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Matthew Stafford Is No David Greene

Jul 19, 2009 – 3:30 AM
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Chris Burke

Chris Burke %BloggerTitle%

Matthew StaffordTom Brady is arguably the best quarterback in the NFL, but Drew Henson has been so bad, he couldn't even crack Detroit's rotation during an 0-16 season. Both played for the University of Michigan.

Peyton Manning is a future Hall of Famer with a Super Bowl ring, while Tee Martin threw for 69 career yards. Both are products of the University of Tennessee.

We could go on and on with contrasts like those. Long story short, just because some superstar quarterback played in the same college program as some bum, doesn't mean that the bum will be a superstar, and vice versa. I bring this up because Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution used former Georgia QB/NFL flop David Greene as a warning sign for Matthew Stafford's potential struggles.

Sorry, but the comparison doesn't fly.
David Greene was a star at Georgia.

Matthew Stafford was a star at Georgia.

It's the sincere hope of Stafford and the Detroit Lions that the similarities will end there.
Good news. They do.

If Greene's name isn't ringing any bells in your NFL memory, you're forgiven. During a four-year pro career, Greene took zero regular-season snaps. His college credentials, which we'll get to shortly, are far more impressive. But the fact is that Greene was a marginal prospect prior to the 2005 NFL Draft, a guy tabbed to be a backup, at best.

Stafford's outlook, as evidenced by his No. 1 overall selection in the 2009 draft, is brighter.

The reason for this whole Greene-Stafford matchup in the first place (other than providing a way to simply catch up with Greene) is that both Greene and Stafford had impressive careers between the Georgia hedges.
Five years ago, David Greene was college football gold. He broke the NCAA record for most wins. He threw for more passing yards than any quarterback in SEC history (including Peyton Manning). Maybe he wasn't projected as an NFL star. But he was drafted in the third round by Mike Holmgren, who had made a career of molding quarterbacks into Super Bowl champions, so that had to mean something.
So there are Greene's college credentials, as promised. He still is the winningest Division I QB of all time with 42 victories, and still holds the SEC passing record. As a four-year starter for the Bulldogs, he was outstanding in Mark Richt's system. That's it, though. Greene was a great system quarterback, nothing more.

Greene's Georgia career included three New Year's Day bowl victories.

Stafford has his issues too, mind you -- he throws off his back foot too much, his mental make-up has been questioned, he struggled in some big games.

Yet, I can say without hesitation that Stafford is a better quarterback than Greene was. Based on pure talent alone, I can't imagine anyone would dispute that. The implication that Greene's failure should serve as some sort of warning sign for Stafford? Sorry, not buying it.

Is there a chance Stafford won't pan out? Absolutely. The Lions have already been down that road with Joey Harrington, so they know where things can go wrong. Stafford's case, though, is as completely different from Greene's as possible. Stafford could bomb for any number of reasons.

Being a former Georgia Bulldog is not one of them.

That's not to say Richt is a master of prepping QBs for the pros (the truth may be closer to the opposite end of the spectrum, actually), or that the Georgia system is ideal for teaching NFL ideas.

But outside of "Played Football at Georgia," the football bios of Greene and Stafford could not be further apart. Greene put up better numbers in college. Stafford has a much better shot at succeeding in the pros.

And that has nothing to do with David Greene.
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