On the surface, hope for an NFL team which finished 3-12-1 on a season would seem to be slim, but the Detroit Lions know that a chance for a turnaround does exist.
The Lions watched the Kansas City Chiefs take home the Super Bowl, and while there are plenty of things the Chiefs can teach the Lions about how to achieve success in the big game, perhaps the biggest is optimism. To that end, the dawning of the offseason should have everyone excited.
While the Lions weren’t high in ESPN’s NFL power ranking poll to close the season, they do have a reason for hope in 2020, and that was provided by Michael Rothstein. As Rothstein explained, Matthew Stafford is a reason Lions fans should be excited for 2020 already. Here’s what he wrote:
“The quarterback said at the end of the season everything was projecting fine and he’s been led to believe he’ll have no ill effects from the back injury that kept him from playing in the final eight games of 2019. Considering Stafford was playing at a Pro Bowl level before the injury and has a clear connection with offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, this is reason to believe in a team that spent a second consecutive year in the NFC North cellar. Having a healthy Stafford is a good start for a franchise needing to ace its offseason to have a chance in 2020.”
Indeed, despite rumors of the team being interested in drafting Tua Tagovailoa and debates about whether the Lions would move on, Stafford would give the team their best chance of winning in 2020.
Matthew Stafford Explains Feelings on 2019 Season
Stafford joined Tori Petry from DetroitLions.com for an exit interview following the completion of the 2019 season, and admitted to the frustration over not being able to reach goals and finish
“It’s been tough. Obviously, as a team, when you don’t win games, it’s difficult,” Stafford said in the interview. “I know the amount of hard work guys on our team and our coaching staff put into it and when the season doesn’t go the way you want it to, it’s not fun.”
For Stafford, the frustration was significantly over not being able to be on the field, even though he had a big role otherwise preparing the quarterbacks.
“For me personally, disappointed not being able to be out there. I love playing. I love playing with these guys. I love competing and not being able to do that was tough. I tried finding other ways to help us and stay involved as much as I possibly could, but nothing actually duplicates going out there and doing it.”
Stafford admitted his role didn’t change outside missing games, but the fact that he had to be a spectator wasn’t exactly something which made him happy. Easy to see, especially with how miserable the Lions finished.
Matthew Stafford Motivated Heading Into 2020
Stafford will be healthy in 2020, and that is the best news thus far even as the season finished poorly.
“I feel really good. I’m really close. I’m not going to be on the shelf all offseason which is good,” Stafford said in an end of season interview. That’s positive news indeed, and something for Lions fans to be happy about.
In terms of his team, Stafford knows just what everyone has to do in order to get over the hump, and that’s finish games.
“I think we were close in a lot of ’em. Had a bunch of leads and didn’t win, and that’s tough to swallow. Had opportunities really in every phase,” he said. “I think everybody’s got to raise their level of play. Every player has to raise their level of play. Coaches do a great job of self evaluation and where they can improve.”
Obviously, a healthy, engaged Stafford could be huge for the Lions, and right now, it’s the biggest reason for hope as many folks see it.