Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford looks to be right in his prime at 30 years old, entering his tenth year in the NFL, again attempting to get the Lions over the hump and into NFC North contention in 2018.
While it was a hot topic on sports radio after Jim Caldwell’s firing, Stafford’s public support of Jim Bob Cooter after the season ended was somehow viewed as out of character. This was especially true when Bob Quinn dismissed it and said publicly that it wouldn’t figure into his decision to keep or dismiss Cooter.
Quinn left that decision up to new head coach Matt Patricia, who ultimately decided to retain Cooter as Detroit’s offensive coordinator.
This looks like a smart move for the first-year head coach as Cooter and Stafford’s familiarity can potentially help ease any growing pains that the defense may suffer from early on while the new players and defensive looks are adjusted to.
Stafford has weapons along with a running game that has literally nowhere to go but up. His play-caller is entering his third year calling the shots for Detroit’s offense. As we have all witnessed before, Cooter and Stafford are capable of getting red-hot when they’re on the same page.
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Rookie wideout Kenny Golladay flashed game-changing ability when healthy in 2017, as did Detroit’s two 1,000-yard receivers: Marvin Jones (1,101 yards, 9 TDs) and Golden Tate (1,003 yards, 5 TDs).
With another season and a potentially bigger role after the team released TE/WR Eric Ebron, Golladay has a chance for a ton of extra looks in 3WR sets. His frame is something the team doesn’t have anywhere else at the receiver position.
I know it’s been droned on about to death, but Bob Quinn’s three-year commitment to a complete offensive line overhaul should finally start bearing some fruit. Then, throw in hungry rookie Kerryon Johnson, with LeGarrette Blount as a power back and the Lions have the makings of an Atlanta Falcons style offense (think 2016 Falcons with Kyle Shanahan as OC).
There’s a chance the Lions are better than anticipated on defense and that Stafford won’t have to carry the team as he’s done in the past. However, at this point in his career, considering what he’s already done with Jim Bob Cooter, it should be expected that Stafford can and will continue to play at an elite level this season.
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