Quarterback Matthew Stafford suffered a rib injury in the fourth quarter of the Detroit Lions’ loss to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.
That injury adds a level of uncertainty to a team that has already fired its head coach and general manager. It also affects the Tennessee Titans, whose gameplan is dependent on which quarterback they face when the Lions come to Nissan Stadium this Sunday.
If Stafford can’t play, it will mark the second week in a row the Titans face a team without its No. 1 quarterback (Jacksonville started Mike Glennon over Gardner Minshew on Sunday). As it stands now, though, they remain steadfast in preparing for a Stafford-led offense until he is officially ruled out.
“I think we always just prepare for them to be out there until they are not,” coach Mike Vrabel said on Monday. “I have got a lot of respect for (Stafford), and what he’s done. I’d expect him to be out there until he’s not.”
The latest on Stafford shows that his injury is trending in the wrong direction. nfl.com’s Ian Rapoport reported Monday that the 12th-year veteran has undergone tests, but there is no definitive answer or diagnosis.
“He has a rib injury, had tests right after the game,” Rapoport said on “Good Morning football” Monday morning. “What I know right now is that he in (an) unbelievable amount of pain. No one has ruled him out of anything, but certainly, there is a possibility that we could see Chase Daniel down the stretch now for the Lions.”
Stafford is winless in two career starts against the Titans. In those contests, he threw for 538 yards, going 55-for-82 with two touchdowns and one interception.
Should Stafford be unavailable to play, Chase Daniels, a career backup, will play in his place. Daniels, over five career starts with the Kansas City Chiefs, and the Chicago Bears is 2-3. He offers the Lions a different look on offense, and the Titans have to prepare a different defensive package for him.
“We’ll have to see what (Daniels) has and where he is the most comfortable within their offense,” Vrabel said.
Regardless of overall defensive preparation, if Stafford is unable to play, the Lions’ offense downgrades significantly in the passing game. Which, for Tennessee, provides a needed advantage because of the team’s documented struggles in defending the vertical passing game.
“We are just trying to build consistency with our preparation,” Vrabel said. “Hopefully if we continue to build consistency through the week, that will carry over to Sunday.”