Many pundits and fans in Detroit searched for scapegoats to blame for the Lions’ epic collapse in 2013 and starting quarterback Matthew Stafford was the main recipient after throwing 13 interceptions in the second half of the season.
Ex-coach Jim Schwartz could have been one of Stafford’s detractors, as he lost his head coaching gig after the debacle, but surprisingly Schwartz is defending the quarterback according to Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com.
“We were 2-6 over the last half of last season, and when you’re 2-6 nobody is feeling good about their performance, whether you’re the head coach, the quarterback or a defensive lineman,” Schwartz said Tuesday on WGFX-FM, via ESPN.com. “But it’s a team game and I wouldn’t pin it on one Matt Stafford. Matt’s an outstanding quarterback.”
Stafford’s flaws are evident on tape and it has been clear since the hiring of new head coach Jim Caldwell that one of the staff’s main missions in 2014 is to fix their quarterback.
But for all those flaws, Stafford is the only QB in NFL history along with Drew Brees to throw for at least 4,500 yards in three consecutive season.
He was often victimized by dropped passes in 2013, as Stafford’s receivers were credited with 46 drops last season-12 more than the next worst team. The team needs to add more talent behind Calvin Johnson but that may be difficult, as the Lions are projected to be $6 million over the cap.
“He’s going to lead that team to many great things in the future,” Schwartz continued. “Everybody has some rough spots here and there, and it’s up to the rest of the team to pick you up.”