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Stafford talks coaching search, talent and more

Matthew Stafford says he hasn't been consulted by upper management during the Detroit Lions' interview process to hire a new head coach, and he doesn't sound like he'll offer his opinion unless he's asked.

Stafford was generally noncommittal about the search process in an interview Wednesday evening on the Mitch Albom Show on WJR-760, the flagship station for the Lions' broadcast network.

Jim Caldwell was fired on Jan. 1 after four seasons as head coach. The Lions have interviewed a number of candidates to replace Caldwell. Stafford was not asked specifically about any of them in his 15-minute appearance.

"It doesn't affect me either way, honestly," Stafford said when asked about a potential role in the search process. "I'll just go about my business. When you guys hear, I'm sure I'll hear. I'll talk to whoever it is, and we'll go from there."

View the best stylized images from the offense during the 2017 season.

It should not be a surprise that general manager Bob Quinn has not asked for input from any players. He said at the press conference announcing the firing of Caldwell that they would not participate.

"No players will be involved in the interview process," Quinn responded firmly when asked specifically about Stafford's possible input.

Stafford has stated publicly he would like to continue working with offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter. Cooter was hired as quarterbacks coach when Caldwell arrived in 2014. Cooter was elevated to coordinator in midseason of 2015.

Caldwell is the second Lions head coach to be fired in Stafford's nine seasons with the team. Jim Schwartz was fired after the 2013 season, his fifth as head coach.

Stafford said he has learned from experience that change is a constant in the NFL at all levels.

He put the onus on the players when asked what additions need to be made to make the team perform at a higher level.

"I think in this league, it's so year to year," he said. "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."

Stafford said he has been in touch with Caldwell since the firing and spoke highly of what he brought to the franchise.

"I have talked to him," Stafford said. "I just relayed my gratitude for all the work he put in – how he helped not only my career, but this organization. How he set new standards.

"I don't think his impact will be realized for a few years down the road."

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