This week in O.T.A’s Matthew finally talked to the media about the whole experience of Kelly’s surgery and his current state of being ‘locked in’ during practice to learn the new offense. He reiterated his commitment to the Detroit Lions and winning and no one should doubt that commitment.
However, it’s time to not only lead the Lions to the playoffs but to start belonging there. That comes from winning playoff games. Something that is a team effort.
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The 2019 Lions defense, on paper, looks like a unit that could be tough. Now paper has never won anything, but it’s better than looking lousy on paper. Last season Matt Patricia’s defense made some major strides and with several offseason additions to that side of the ball, it should be better this year.
The offense is the biggest question mark and everyone says the same thing when you discuss the change to Darrell Bevell, ‘they’ll run the ball and be boring’.
To that, I say take a look at some of the game films of the 2017 Seattle Seahawks which was Bevell’s last season as an NFL offensive coordinator before being out of the game last year. Two tight end sets, three tight end sets, five receiver sets, plenty of shotgun formations and, oh yeah, frequently passing the ball.
Now obviously Stafford isn’t Russell Wilson, but he is mobile enough that there will be some rolling out and moving pockets to create opportunities that Matthew hasn’t often enjoyed in Detroit.
And passing. Yes, he will throw short passes and long passes and everything in between. So while the expected continual growth of the ground game and the importance of Kerryon Johnson is certainly going to be imperative to the success of the Lions offense, in the end, games will still often continue to come down to the right arm of Matthew.
Which means that Matthew must bounce back from his disappointing 2018 season and play like a champion, which I’ve already stated that he is very capable of. But talk is cheap and actions speak much louder than words ever can.
He has a deep stable of talented tight ends, a terrific one-two punch at receiver with Jones and Golladay and Danny Amendola is a reliable slot man while Theo Riddick and Kerryon Johnson both excel at catching the ball out of the backfield.
And even though there is still legitimate concern about depth at wideout, they do have enough firepower to be very successful when they do go to the air. Deep or short.
So while Matthew says he’s locked in and Matt Patricia says he’s ‘blessed’ to have Stafford as his quarterback. 2019 would be a great time to prove it to the world. Because for the Lions to improve, it still starts with Matthew Stafford.