Saturday, December 12, 2015, 9:58am
One of the best indicators of success in the NFL is a team's turnover differential. During the first half of the season, the Detroit Lions' inability to protect the football was reflected in the team's 1-7 record.
While not entirely his fault, quarterback Matthew Stafford was part of the problem. Through eight games, he had racked up 11 interceptions and was even benched in the third quarter of the team's Week 5 loss to Arizona after tossing three picks.
But things have turned around since the midpoint of the campaign. In the first four games of the second half, Detroit is one miracle play away from being undefeated. Asked about the biggest factor behind the team's recent success, coach Jim Caldwell immediately pointed to turnovers.
The Lions have given it away just twice in the past four games with Stafford throwing only one interception.
Friday, October 30, 2015, 6:45pm
Thursday, October 29, 2015, 6:14pm
Wednesday, October 28, 2015, 6:45pm
Monday, October 26, 2015, 7:25pm
The Lions made major changes today when they fired their offensive coordinator and offensive line coaches. But quarterback Matthew Stafford isn’t sure what can really be changed in the middle of a season.
“In the middle of a season, I don’t know. I’m answering that as honestly as I can,” Stafford said.
Stafford didn’t sound excited about the change so much as he sounded resigned to it.
“Any time people are let go it’s a surprise. It’s not what you expect. But you understand the situation and you understand how this league functions. That doesn’t make it any easier,” Stafford said.
Fantasy owners are probably hoping for a big turnaround but it may not be the case. The story added Stafford said he doesn’t think they can re-write the playbook seven games into the season.
The Detroit Lions' ugly start to the season has inspired major changes to the coaching staff.
The team fired offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi on Monday, the team announced. The Lions also fired offensive line coaches Jeremiah Washburn and Terry Heffernan. Coach Jim Caldwell confirmed that Jim Bob Cooter will take over as offensive coordinator.
The grandson of Vince Lombardi, Joe arrived in Detroit without experience as an NFL coordinator. He spent seven seasons with the New Orleans, including five years as Drew Brees' quarterback coach. Lombardi's place in Detroit always felt like an awkward fit. He struggled to adapt a Saints-like offense in Detroit based on timing and precision. Matthew Stafford has never mastered the finer points of the position like Brees, and he regressed in an offense built around short passing.
The last straw for Lombardi came on Sunday when the Lions lost to the Minnesota Vikings to drop their record 1-6. Stafford and the team's offensive line has struggled to recognize where pressure is coming from all season.
Caldwell, who has an offensive background, has been under fire for not delivering on his promise to improve Stafford. Caldwell, who is a proven offensive coach from his days in Indianapolis and Baltimore, figures to take on a larger role constructing the offense. If he's going to get heat, he may as well do it with his style of offense, the story said. Caldwell was instrumental in Peyton Manning's career and getting the Colts to the Super Bowl in the 2009 season as their head coach. He was hired late in the 2013 season in Baltimore, turning the Ravens' offense around and helping Joe Flacco win a Super Bowl. With Lombardi as his offensive coordinator, he was unable to replicate that success in Detroit.
Stafford required X-rays on his non-throwing hand after the game, but they came back negative.
"In regard to Matthew, I'm sure some of you will ask about his hand," coach Jim Caldwell said to open his Monday press conference. "His hand was X-rayed and it was negative."
The Detroit Lions quarterback injured his left hand in Sunday's 28-19 loss against Minnesota, and was forced to finish the game with a glove. He underwent X-rays a few minutes after the game.
Although he didn't have the results, he's optimistic he's OK heading into next week's game against the Kansas City Chiefs in London.
"I think it's fine," Stafford said. "We'll see."
Stafford also underwent X-rays on his ribs after the first game against Minnesota, a 26-16 loss back in Week 2. He took eight hits in that game, was sacked once and took two more blows while trying to get out of bounds.
Stafford says he's fine and he played through it but owners should pay attention to this situation leading up to Week 8.
Lions Coach Jim Caldwell reiterated Monday that Matthew Stafford remains the team’s starting quarterback and doesn’t need to worry about being demoted.
“He’s never been on a short leash,” Caldwell told reporters. “And he won’t be in the future.”
The whole season seems that way. Caldwell is essentially saying that there’s lots of blame to go around. He called Sunday’s game “ugly” — it’s hard to disagree — and also said it was disappointing and embarrassing.
Stafford, the No. 1 overall pick in 2009, was 20 of 32 passing for 188 yards at the time of his benching.
He threw an interception on the game's opening series, another on the Lions' first possession of the second quarter and was pulled after Patrick Peterson picked off a fourth-and-3 pass intended for Calvin Johnson on the Lions' opening drive of the second half.
Stafford had taken every Lions snap but two kneel-downs since the 2013 season, and had never been pulled in a game except for injury or competitive reasons in his seven-year career.
Both Lions coach Jim Caldwell and offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi defended Stafford this week, with Lombardi saying, "I still don't think he's broken," a reference to comments he made after being hired as coordinator in January of 2014.
Stafford and Lombardi had a brief, non-animated exchange on the sideline after Stafford was benched. Stafford then stood alone near the 40-yard line while Orlovsky warmed up on the sideline. The Lions said Stafford was not pulled for injury reasons, the story said. It's interesting to note, the Lions signed Stafford to a three-year extension worth $41.7 million in the summer of 2013. But they can get out of the deal without owing Stafford any more money after this season. Stafford, who turns 28 in February, has no guaranteed money left on his deal, but he still would count $11 million against the salary cap if the Lions decide to go in another direction. His Week 6 status is in question at this point as the Lions host Chicago in an early afternoon game.
Friday, September 25, 2015, 7:02pm
Lions QB Matthew Stafford (ribs, probable) took full practice reps all week and is probable for Week 3. Stafford is expected to play, but isn’t solid start against a tough Broncos defense. The Lions may have to throw the ball quite a bit because they’re going to have a tough time running the ball on Denver.
Thursday, September 24, 2015, 6:16pm
Wednesday, September 23, 2015, 6:12pm
Matthew Stafford keeps getting hit. And he keeps getting right back up.
The Detroit Lions quarterback was hit at least 10 times in Sunday's 26-16 loss against the Minnesota Vikings, including twice as he was running defenselessly out of bounds. He suffered a rib injury in the beating, and underwent X-rays after the game.
His status for the home opener on Sunday night against the Denver Broncos is unclear. But if Monday was any indication, he stands a pretty good chance of being in the lineup.
Stafford led Detroit's walk-through on Monday, and multiple players said he was moving much better.
He refused to take any questions in the locker room afterward, but he looked and sounded much better than he did after the game, when he had to wheeze his way through a 4-minute press conference, the story said. While is status is in doubt, this is at least a good sign he has a chance to play in Week 3. The story also added that Stafford said he was feeling "all right" in a radio interview Monday.
Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford tried to carry the load in the team's 26-16 loss to the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. He dropped back to pass 54 times and also led the team on the ground with four rushes for 20 yards. After the game, Stafford, who took a bit of a beating, needed X-rays on his chest, according to Lions senior writer Tim Twentyman. "Obviously getting hit out here as many times as he got hit, obviously that took a toll on him," Lions head coach Jim Caldwell said, per Kyle Meinke of MLive.com. "But he hung in there."
The results for Stafford's X-rays were not disclosed after the game, and there's no word yet on his status for the Denver Broncos game next Sunday night. It's worth noting that Stafford also suffered an elbow injury during Detroit's Week 1 loss to the San Diego Chargers. MLive.com is reporting it's a rib injury but the team isn't saying if anything is broke. Stafford's status for Week 3 looks to be up in the air at this point. Caldwell added Stafford is very sore, according to MLive.com.
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