LIONS INSIDER

Super Bowl Notes: Does Stafford need more help? Adam Gase's Detroit roots and more

Posted Jan 31, 2014

Former NFL quarterbacks Archie Manning and Jim Kelly believe winning has to be a team effort and Matthew Stafford needs more help

NEW YORK, NY -- Former NFL quarterbacks Archie Manning and Jim Kelly have unique perspectives of what makes a good quarterback and a good football team.

Matthew StaffordQB Matthew Stafford (Photo: Gavin Smith)

Manning had all the talent in the world as the No. 2 pick by the New Orleans Saints in 1971, but he played on just one team in a decade that reached the .500 mark.

Kelly, who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2002, was part of some of the most prolific and talented offensive football teams to ever play the game in Buffalo.

Asked about Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford this week at the Super Bowl, both former quarterbacks talked about his immense talent, but both said he needs more help.

“I was blessed,” Kelly said. “I had Hall of Famers around me. Of course Thurman Thomas, James Lofton and hopefully Andre Reed will be going in this weekend. You’re only as good as the players around you. I know it’s cliché, but especially in the game of football, you have to have top-quality guys for you to succeed or reach your potential.”

Stafford has the benefit of working with the best receiver in the game today in Calvin Johnson, but the Lions are still on the lookout for a consistent No. 2 and No. 3 receiving option.

The team brought in running back Reggie Bush last season to bolster their run game and that part of the offense will continue to evolve with Bush and Joique Bell.

“We know Matthew well,” Manning said. “Nobody has a better arm than Matthew, and he’s got experience, but the whole team has to come together.

"He’s really a good player and is going to be around a long time. He’s seen it all now. He’s going through a change. Sometimes change is good. I think everyone knows he’s going to be a great player in this league.”

Detroit has changed head coaches bringing in Jim Caldwell and Stafford will work with a new offensive coordinator for the first time in his NFL career as the team has brought in Joe Lombardi to run the offense.

“It might be good for him,” Kelly said of the changes to the Lions coaching staff. “(Stafford’s) a heck of a quarterback and you always want to see someone who is like that succeed. Sometimes you’re evaluated on how far you take your team and I think it’s good changes they’re making.”

GASE HAS LIONS ROOTS

Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase will coach the biggest game of his life Sunday at MetLife Stadium as his Broncos take on the Seattle Seahawks.

Gase has a number of local ties, including a stint in the Lions personnel department as a scouting assistant, and then an offensive coaching assistant (2006-06) and a quarterbacks coach in 2007 under then offensive coordinator Mike Martz.

Lions vice president of pro personnel, Sheldon White, worked closely with Gase after former Lions scout Russ Bolinger first brought Gase to Detroit to work in the personnel department.

White says he’s not surprised at all by the success Gase, 35, has had in such a short span.

Adam Gase and Peyton ManningBroncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase and QB Peyton Manning (Photo: AP Images)

“You’d give him an assignment and he’d give it back to you better than you gave it to him,” White said. “He was very conscientious about doing everything as best as he could do it.”

Gase’s true passion was in coaching, however, and he made the switch from the personnel department to the coaching staff in 2005 after a meeting with then head coach Steve Mariucci.

"My first two years in Detroit, really it was the first year it started, we were a couple games in and I was kind of like, this is tough being in personnel because you feel like you're removed from it,” Gase said of the switch to coaching. “You're not on that daily grind of practice, and OTAs, and minicamp, and training camp, and all that stuff.

“So I realized that's when I wanted to get out of personnel, and then there was an opportunity for me possibly to go to Miami when (Nick) Saban went there. I was able to stay in Detroit, and Coach (Steve) Mariucci gave me a shot to work with Tom Rathman (running backs coach).

Gase impressed the Lions in his coaching roles, and in every role he had in the organization, in fact, and the team wanted to find a place for him on staff following the 2007 season when Martz was fired.

Gase chose instead to follow Martz to San Francisco to be an offensive assistant in 2008 and then joined the Broncos staff in 2009 as a receivers coach, eventually working his way up to be Peyton Manning’s right-hand man operating the potent Broncos offense.

GETTING A SHOT

Three former Lions – Seattle defensive end Cliff Avril, Denver linebacker Paris Lenon and Denver center Manny Ramirez – will get their shot at a Super ring on Sunday in New York.

All three members share a unique history as members of the Lions- 0-16 team in 2008.