Quarterback Matthew Stafford is having a down year, and with that inevitably comes some questions about his future. Stafford has just 19 touchdown passes on the year with 11 interceptions. His passer rating of 88.7 ranks 25th among qualified passers and the Lions' offense ranks 27th in scoring.
It’s led to speculation about everything from a change in offensive coordinators to possibly even a change at quarterback.
Lions head coach Matt Patricia threw his support behind Stafford during his Friday press conference.
“Matthew Stafford is an unbelievable quarterback and he’s our quarterback,” Patricia said. “He’s been fighting and battling and playing hard and leading this team throughout the entire course of the season.
“We’ll just keep working and progressing and trying to grow and get better next year and hopefully we can do some things to help him.”
Patricia has respect for Stafford, the way he works, and the way he’s handled this season.
“He’s my quarterback,” Patricia said. “We’re grinding every single day to get better. I appreciate that relationship a lot and I appreciate the way he works. We’re in a situation where Matthew Stafford is our quarterback, that’s what it is. I think the world of the guy. I think he’s an unbelievable competitor. I think he’s a great player. I have to do everything I can to help him as much as possible.”
Stafford’s lost all of his top skill position weapons to start the year, except for wide receiver Kenny Golladay, due to either injury or roster moves.
Lions general manager Bob Quinn signed Stafford to a five-year extension last offseason, so trading him seems unlikely.
Stafford is the first to admit he has to play better for the Lions to be better. He said as much speaking to the media Thursday.
He’s got the support of his head coach, and the team will continue to try and improve around Stafford in the hopes that he can regain the form from recent seasons, when he’d been playing some of the best ball of his career.
JIM BOB COOTER'S FUTURE
Patricia was also asked about the job offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter has done this year.
“I mean, obviously, it’s not an easy job, right?” Patricia said. “I think, he’s every single week doing everything he can to just put us in a situation to help the collective team try to be in the end where we can win.”
The Lions have been without starters T.J. Lang (IR), Marvin Jones Jr. (IR), Golden Tate (trade), Kerryon Johnson (IR) and Michael Roberts (IR) for a good chunk of the season.
Still, the offensive numbers are what they are, and none of it has been very good, especially the second half of the season.
“Jim Bob works extremely hard, he’s very smart,” Patricia said. “He obviously knows this system in and out and obviously works really close with (Matthew) Stafford as far as trying to get all of that on the same page and it’s not easy. This is not an easy game, it’s hard.”
Sunday’s Lions-Packers game will feature a broadcasting first.
Former NFL punter Pat McAfee is making his debut, serving as a color commentator for the 1 p.m. FOX broadcast.
The former Pro Bowl punter retired from football in 2017, and has since become a popular media personality who’s worked on several projects.
“I’ve gotta be impartial, I’ve gotta be 50-50,” McAfee said during a recent podcast of his, via FOX59 in Indianapolis. “I’m pulling for the Lions just as much as I’m pulling for Aaron Rodgers, who’s a really good friend of mine.”
McAfee will work with play-by-play announcer Justin Kutcher, fellow color commentator Robert Smith and sideline reporter Sarah Kustok.
“I have a different attitude towards it,” McAfee said of NFL broadcasts. “I think it should be a show — I think they’ve started to make it too serious.”