Former Lions Quarterback Defends Matthew Stafford, Questions Organization

Matthew Stafford

Getty Matthew Stafford prior to Week 1's battle in 2020.

The Detroit Lions have been a major disappointment so far this season, and as a result, folks are chiming in about the direction of the team.

Matthew Stafford has taken his share of heat for the team’s 1-3 record, but there is at least one person who follows the team that doesn’t believe Stafford is at fault for what’s gone on himself much if at all.

Joining 97.1 The Ticket’s Stoney & Jansen With Heather show, CBS Sports analyst and former Detroit quarterback Gary Danielson was asked about the Lions and specifically Stafford. As he said, the NFL is a tough league and Detroit has a good leader in Stafford. Instead of blaming him or saying the team should move on, Danielson implied some blame could be cast toward the franchise for their inability to put a good team around the quarterback.

Danielson said:

“I’m not giving anybody excuses but it is a tough league. There’s nobody I respect more than Matthew Stafford. He never throws his teammates under the bus, he shows up, he plays hurt. He’s a much better quarterback than I ever was and boy, when you can’t put together a formula with a guy like that, you have to wonder about what’s going on. It’s frustrating. I wish they could put it together.”

Stafford himself has run hot and cold early in 2020, but the inability of the Lions to get over the top with the quarterback has been a long term issue. How much of that is on Stafford himself, the coaching staff and front office will be something that has to be sorted out in time, especially if this season continues to go off the rails for Detroit.

Lions fans would agree with Danielson that it’s been disappointing to watch the team try and fail to put things together with Stafford. He might represent the most recent talented player to see the formative years of his career go to waste in the Motor City thanks to mismanagement.

Matthew Stafford Might Be ‘Tired of Losing’

Are the Detroit losses wearing on the quarterback? It’s more than possible that is the case if Dan Orlovsky is to be believed. Recently, speaking with the Pat McAfee Show, Orlovsky was asked about the Lions and how long a potential restructuring of the team would take in the event they switch coaches again. Naturally, as a former player for the team, Orlovsky has a ton of opinions about the Lions and Stafford, given he is good friends with the quarterback. As he said, he isn’t sure that Stafford isn’t getting beaten down a bit by his surroundings and is unclear on what his future may hold.

Orlovsky said:

“Here’s the truth, Matthew’s my boy and I love him like a family member. But it feels like they’ve taken his killer instinct away sometimes when I watch him play right now. Like he used to be this killer, and I don’t know if they’ve kind of peeled that away. He’s just been beat up for so long. I think 12 years now, he’s got to be so sick and tired of losing. What happens if they move on from Matt Patricia, I don’t know if they do that. What happens if the new coach wants a new quarterback? Who’s that quarterback going to be? What do they do with Matthew Stafford? Is it going to take longer to rebuild with a young quarterback? I would say yes. I think there’s a lot of question marks hanging over the Lions organization right now than there were 4 or 5 weeks ago.”

The future of Stafford will become a big talking point for the Lions in the event that the team does decide on a sea change within the front office or at head coach in the months ahead. The current regime, led by Bob Quinn, has remained loyal to Stafford but it’s always possible that a major shakeup could leave his future open to interpretation. That’s especially true given the beating they are currently taking in the press.

Thus far in 2020, Stafford isn’t having the type of season that will wow many folks. He’s thrown 8 touchdowns and 3 interceptions with 1,017 yards, but each of those picks have been in critical junctures of the game which directly led to defeat. During Week 4, plenty wondered if Stafford’s body language was showing frustration. He has maintained that is more due to the frustration of not being able to help his team win.

Detroit did restructure Stafford’s deal a month back. While it’s tough to imagine them dealing the quarterback this season, it’s possible that he is heading for an uncertain future with the team should there be more dramatic personnel changes coming. If that’s the case, it could have plenty to do with losses stacking up as Orlovsky says.

Terry Bradshaw: Matt Patricia Must Be Fired

Early on Sunday this week, Patricia once again was brought up by Terry Bradshaw on Fox Sports’ pregame show in a negative light. Bradshaw again went in on Patricia, saying he might be a smart guy, but he’s a lousy coach and has to get fired this season.

Bradshaw said:

“Patricia in Detroit, can’t coach. Smartest guy in the world, rocket scientist, engineer, can’t coach a lick. Can’t hold a lead when they’re leading by 10 points. He’s gotta be gone.”

Former NFL star Michael Strahan chimed in on the same telecast, saying that he believes Patricia has to foster better relationships if he wants to be a success in the league and win their respect.

“Matt Patricia, he’s been an x’s and o’s guy. You have to have relationships if you want to win in this league with your players so they’ll run through a wall for you.”

Many would argue Patricia hasn’t even been a great x’s and o’s guy with Detroit either, so something has to give. The Lions get back to work this week by hitting the road for Jacksonville. Patricia will get a chance to redeem himself and change the narrative once more. It’s a narrative that has turned south in plenty of ways in recent days.

Perhaps Patricia will be the one to take the fall for all of this losing.

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