The good: Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford had a stellar 2017 campaign from a statistical standpoint.
Here's a list of all the passing categories Stafford ranked in the Top 10 in the NFL this season:
- Passing touchdowns (29, 4th)
- Passing yards (4,446, 3rd)
- Completions (371, 3rd)
- Completion percentage (65.7, 6th)
- Passer rating (99.3, 6th)
- Third down passer rating (110.7, 2nd)
- 40 -yard completions (14, 2nd)
- 30 -yard completions (27, 3rd)
- 20 -yard completions (61, T-3rd)
By reaching 4,000 yards this season, Stafford joined Peyton Manning as the only quarterbacks in NFL history to throw for 4,000 yards in seven of a player's first nine seasons. He joined Matt Ryan (4,095) and Drew Brees (12) as the only quarterbacks to throw for 4,000 yards in seven consecutive seasons.
Stafford helped bring the big play back to the Lions' offense in 2017 after a brief hiatus in 2016. He was one of the top deep passers in the league in 2017 posting the fifth most deep completions (30), second most deep yards (1,136) and tied for third most deep touchdowns (10). His passer rating of 111.6 on deep passes ranks second, per Pro Football Focus.
The bad: Stafford and the Lions didn't qualify for the playoffs.
Football is the ultimate team game, but Stafford's poor record against teams with a winning record will continue to be a topic of discussion in Detroit until both he and the team win more of those games.
View photos of the Detroit Lions quarterbacks in 2017.
The Lions were 1-6 this season against teams with a winning record. They were 8-1 against sub-.500 teams.
In the seven games against teams with a winning record, Stafford completed 60 percent of his passes for an average of 283 yards per game with nine touchdowns and five interceptions. His passer rating in those contests was 85.7.
He threw 20 touchdowns and just five picks with a passer rating north of 110.0 in games against teams with sub-.500 records.
Winning more of those tough games is what leads to division titles, home playoff games and playoff victories.
Key stat: All those terrific passing numbers added up to a 99.3 passer rating for the season for Stafford, which established a new single-season franchise record.
Free agents: Jack Rudock (exclusive rights)
The Lions have groomed and developed Rudock over the last couple seasons, and he's earned the backup role.
GM Bob Quinn will still bring in some competition though. He drafted Brad Kaaya in the sixth-round last year and has said in the past it's good business to draft and develop quarterbacks at least every other year, if not every year.
Draft: Stafford's five-year contract means the Lions won't be in the market for a quarterback anywhere near the top of the draft.
Josh Rosen (UCLA) and Sam Darnold (USC) could be the top two picks in the draft. Wyoming's Josh Allen and Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma) could also be first-round picks.
Others who could go a little later in the draft are: Mason Rudolph (Oklahoma State), Mike White (Western Kentucky), Luke Falk (Washington State) and Kurt Benkert (Virginia).
Quotable: "I think in this league, it's so year to year," Stafford told WJR of what Detroit needs to do to take their game to the next level. "Very rarely are teams the same, personnel-wise or coaching-wise. So every team is different.
"We've done a nice job in the recent past of stockpiling talent. I think if we can continue to do that at a high rate, we'll be in a successful position.
"At the end of the day, it's the guys on the field – the guys out there making the plays, the guys putting up points and getting interceptions and doing all the stuff out there making the plays that help you win football games. As many good football players as we can put on our football team, that's going to help us out a bunch."