Shortly after being hired by the Detroit Lions to be their new head coach, Matt Patricia said one of the things he was looking forward to most was getting a chance to sit down and talk football with franchise quarterback Matthew Stafford.
"That's something I'm really excited about," Patricia told detroitlions.com back in February. "From a standpoint of being able to sit down and watch film and go through film and from my standpoint say, 'Hey, let me show you what I see. Let me show you what defenses are looking at against you or let me show you this particular player defensively and look at this and try to broaden the way you look at it from that standpoint, too.'"
Speaking to the media for the first time since Patricia was hired, Stafford says he's just as excited as his new head coach to eventually have some of those conversations.
"I'm definitely looking forward to it," Stafford said. "Obviously he comes from a program that's won a lot of football games a lot of different ways and he's a smart guy. We'll enjoy those conversations when they come around."
Stafford is coming off a 2017 season in which he ranked third in passing yards (4,446), fourth in touchdowns (29), sixth in completion percentage (65.7) and sixth in passer rating (99.3).
The Lions return offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter – a move Stafford advocated for at the end of the season – but do have some new offensive assistant coaches and some new personnel on that side of the ball. Patricia will no-doubt have an input on the offense as well. This is the time of year when all those new moving parts come together for the first time.
"He's got great energy and great passion for the game," Stafford said of Patricia. "He, like everyone else in this building, just wants to win and that's our goal."
Patricia has met with the team as a group a couple times, and Stafford said his message has just been about the process of getting better and how it's on the players to improve themselves this time of year.
Although the first phase of the offseason training program is focused on strength and conditioning, the addition of a new coach and a new direction does create some buzz.
"We're bringing in a guy from a team that has a lot of wins under his belt," Stafford said. "Obviously, he's a first-time head coach but has thought about this I'm sure for a long time and how he wants things to go.
"We're excited to have him. He's bringing great energy and great passion for the game and it's on us to match that and exceed it."