Notebook: Matthew Stafford vs. the Chicago Bears' blitz

Posted Dec 28, 2012

Also, Jim Schwartz addresses Sports Illustrated's reported rift and Tim Twentyman takes a look at where the Detroit Lions could draft based on Sunday's result.

The Detroit Lions are preparing for plenty of pressure to be put on quarterback Matthew Stafford by the Chicago Bears defense this Sunday at Ford Field.

Head coach Jim Schwartz said the Lions didn't handle the pressure all that well in a 13-7 loss to the Bears back in October.

"I think that they did a good job of pressuring the quarterback and a lot of balls came out before we could really get to the break-point in some of the routes and those will be two things that we have to do a better job of on Sunday," he said.

"That was one of the first games that we started to see blitz show up. Early in the season teams had taken a prevent-type attitude toward our offense and Chicago, particularly in Chicago, has taken an approach of heating up the offense a little bit with some pressure.

"That was a game that we lost (WR Nate) Burleson fairly early in that game. I don't know if that changed their game plan, but we need to buy some more time for the quarterback, we need to run the football better.

Bears safety Major Wright told reporters in a conference call this week that Stafford "kinda folds" when he faces pressure.

"You put a little pressure on him, you close the pocket on him, and he hesitates," Wright said Wednesday "He doesn't make that perfect throw."

According to Stats, LLC, Stafford is 83-of-151 passing (55 percent) for 1,012 yards with zero touchdowns and three interceptions against the blitz this season.

Stafford was 28-of-46 for 263 yards with a touchdown and interception in that loss at Chicago back on Oct. 22. He was sacked three times and the Bears registered six quarterback hits.

Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan didn't necessarily agree with Wright's observations on Stafford when asked about them on Thursday.

"No. I think a guy that's thrown for nearly 10,000 yards and almost 60 touchdowns in two seasons holds up pretty good out there," he said.

Head coach Jim Schwartz denied a recent report in Sports Illustrated Friday that a rift has emerged between he and general manager Martin Mayhew.

"It couldn't be further from the truth," Schwartz said. "I don't like to comment on rumors and stuff like that, but particularly (from) people that aren't in our building, that don't see us every day, that couldn't be farther from the truth. We're all in this together, and we're all very determined to get us back on the right track."

"We're focused on the Chicago Bears."

The SI article listed the Lions' penchant for taking chances on character-issue type players, and the effect on the locker room, at the root of the problem.

The Lions have every intention of beating the Bears on Sunday to snap a seven-game losing streak and spoil their division foe's playoff chances.

The draft is the farthest thing from the Lions' minds right now, but Sunday's result could mean the difference between drafting anywhere from No. 3 to No. 9 in the 2013 NFL Draft based on Week 17 results.

Kansas City (2-13) and Jacksonville (2-13) have locked up the top two picks. If the Lions (4-11) lose to Chicago, they'll draft no lower than fifth.

Wins by Oakland (4-11) and Philadelphia (4-11) would move the Lions up to No. 3. The Raiders play at San Diego Sunday - both teams are out of the playoff hunt. The Eagles play at the Giants - the Giants need a win to keep their playoff chances alive.

The Lions' schedule has been the toughest in the NFL through 15 games, which determines the draft position of teams with similar record. That means any team who finishes with a similar record as the Lions will draft before them.