That’s not the complete case according to everyone, however. Even as the Lions are playing out the string in a lost season, Stafford continues to show his toughness and impress with the way he’s playing. The last few weeks, Detroit’s quarterback has led by example and has been making the case as to why he should stay rather than get traded.
Though it’s not a popular opinion for many, it’s clear the Lions have a player in Stafford that can still do great things for their organization. In a recent power rankings piece for NFL.com, Dan Hanzus explained why the team might be smarter to keep Stafford rather than trade him.
“There will be waves of speculation surrounding Stafford and his future this offseason, but the Lions would be wise to put the lion’s share of their focus on how to fix their putrid defense. It was exposed again by an explosive Titans offense, which piled up 463 yards and six touchdowns in Detroit’s ninth loss of the season.”
Stafford has not been the problem this season or in many seasons, and once again, Detroit’s putrid defense has been struggling with consistency which has led to the downfall of the entire team. With this in mind, it could be smarter for the Lions to keep Stafford, draft his eventual replacement, rebuild the defense and see what happens in 2021.
Detroit’s Defense Needs Major Changes
Hanzus is right to proclaim the Lions defense needs most of the renovations from the new staff. Detroit’s defense has been very bad all year long, but in the losses, they’ve been downright exposed. They have given up an average of over 35 points and 400 yards in the losses. Perhaps most notably, the defeats have come against better teams they have played, especially on offense.
The Lions haven’t had any answers this season at all on defense. This season, Detroit’s defense has been plagued with inconsistency in every single way on the field, no matter who the opponent might end up being. Their pass rush has struggled constantly, and the team has been up and down on the back end while battling injuries. Detroit also hasn’t forced enough turnovers and is generally unable to get off the field against good teams and good offenses. As a whole, the Lions place 30th in the NFL in total defense through Week 15 this season. They continue to give up points and constantly look underprepared, which has been bad news for Cory Undlin and his group most of the year.
As a result, a big time coordinator and a big time renovation are needed, which is the job for Detroit’s next general manager and head coach. Matt Patricia never hired the right people or made the right fixes, and no matter what happens at quarterback, its time for a change there.
Matthew Stafford’s Future With Lions Undefined
The future of Stafford will become a big talking point for the Lions given the changes within the front office and at head coach and everything that is left to come in that regard. The past regime, led by Bob Quinn, remained loyal to Stafford but the shakeup could leave his future firmly up in the air. That’s especially true given the fact that ownership has essentially deferred the decision to the new staff once they come to town, which is still weeks away.
Thus far in 2020, Stafford isn’t having the type of season that will wow many folks. He’s thrown 23 touchdowns and 9 interceptions with 3,774 passing yards. He’s had good games and average games, but has shown the toughness that has come to define his tenure.
The Stafford decision will loom large over the next front office and isn’t as cut and dry as many think. The stats will always show that Stafford is elite, and according to some, it might be smarter for the Lions to stick with Stafford and focus on fixing the defense.