But that hasn't changed the team's view of their franchise quarterback any, according to Detroit Lions general manager Martin Mayhew.
"He's a phenominal player," Mayhew said. "Great teammate. The guy's got tremendous skill level. Great arm talent. He's our guy."
In fact, Martin Mayhew told beat writers Wednesday he'll try to renegotiate or extend Stafford's contract to lower his $20-plus million cap figure and try to keep him in Motown for the foreseeable future.
"I though he had an outstanding - a phenomenal - season in 2011 and if that's what we're expecting every year then we have a definite Hall of Famer - first ballot," he said. "After five years he'd just retire and go right into the Hall of Fame."
Stafford had 5,038 passing yards in a 10-win 2011 season with 41 touchdowns. He completed 63 percent of his passes.
He finished the 2012 season with 4,967 passing yards (second-most in the NFL), but saw his touchdowns cut by more than half (20) and his completion percentage drop below 60 percent (59.8) for the first time since his rookie season in 2009.
"Last year was an outstanding year and this year was a solid season," Mayhew said of Stafford. "I think there's a lot that goes into that, though."
Mayhew referred to the weeks on end that receivers
"The timing was off midseason," Mayhew said. "Then obviously we had the injuries to those guys late in the year when we had (Ryan) Broyles out, (Brandon) Pettigrew injured, (Nate) Burleson out and (we) were playing with different guys and it was a different caliber of guys he was playing with.
"The injuries had an impact on his game, I think."
In 2011, Johnson, Young, Burleson and Pettigrew played in all 16 games.
Mayhew also said he thought Stafford fell victim to more interior pressure than he had the previous year.
"People talk about his mechanics," Mayhew said. "Sometimes he was throwing around a guy or he was getting pressure inside.
"To me, a quarterback's mechanics are kind of like a tennis players' serve. You're always working on that. You don't ever go, ‘hey, I'm done with that.' He's always working on his mechanics and trying to get better."
Mayhew made Matthew Stafford, 24, the No. 1 pick in the 2009 draft, thinking he was the answer the franchise needed at quarterback.
That opinion hasn't waivered in the slightest and Mayhew will move to secure his services longterm this offseason.