Nine years of unwavering faith in 28 year old QB Matthew Stafford may soon show great reward for the Lions.
With former offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi out of the way and QB coach Jim Bob Cooter assuming the offensive coordinator role, Stafford finished the last 8 games of the 2015-16 season with a 6-2 record, 20 TD’s passes, and just 2 interceptions.
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Although only 1 of the 6 opponents the Lions faced during that 6-2 stretch entered the post-season, the Lions fans shouldn’t hesitate to give Matthew his credit due. Going forward Stafford needs to produce more than just a minuscule winning stretch if the Lions are planning to get their first playoff win since 1991 next season. Thus, Detroit brought in new QB coach
from Denver to help Cooter fulfill the task of bringing Stafford to his peak. With a desirable staff of mentors at hand, Stafford’s potential may finally come to fruition in 2016.
While the general public may be dismayed at the departure of WR Calvin Johnson Jr., Lions administration is rather optimistic about the future. Earlier this week the Lions acquired former New York Jets WR Jeremy Kerley (who will likely be an aid on special teams) and seem to have a personnel full of speedsters for their QB to rely on. The collaborative of WR Marvin Jones Jr., WR Golden Tate, WR T.J Jones, TE Eric Ebron, HB Ameer Abdullah, and HB Theo Reddick is destined to give defenses a nightmare in 2016. With a personnel like such, screen passes, HB draws, quick toss runs, play action passing and short hitch routes will be accessible all season long for Stafford and the Lions offense. With the NFL Draft just five weeks away, there’s really no telling how much more dynamic the offensive personnel will become before it’s football season again.
”With a desirable staff of mentors at hand, Stafford’s potential may finally come to fruition in 2016.”
The undeniable defective in Detroit’s offense is the O-line. Allowing 44 sacks last season and a league worst rushing attack (1335 yards) in 2015, the Lions could use a plug in at the T position to keep there QB upright. Instead of having Stafford tasting turf all game, Detroit is looking to instill a solid rush attack that will allow for draw plays and power runs. This will help lighten up opponent blitzing next season. Detroit is just a few minor adjustments away from developing their identity as a force in the NFC. With the exception of not acquiring T Russell Okung from the Seahawks, free agency has been ideal, cap space is plentiful and the Lions can only go up from here. If Stafford is able to get just two-thirds more on a second in the pocket to survey the field, maybe the Lions will improve the horrific 73/205 third down conversion rate they produced last year in 2016. There is no reason for Stafford or the Lions coaching personnel not to have confidence in their ability to produce a winning season this year. Stay tuned.