Recently the Detroit Lions hired a new General Manager (GM) in Brad Holmes, formally of the Los Angeles Rams organization, and a new head coach in Dan Campbell from the New Orleans Saints. Campbell is expected to bring former standout NFL cornerback Aaron Glenn to Detroit to call the teams’ defense.
It’s a new regime in Detroit; while many of us are excited to finally wash the sour taste of Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia out of our mouths, there is still plenty left to question. The Detroit Lions have an abundance of ‘first-timers’ hired throughout their front office and coaching staff.
Not only is Holmes a first time GM, but Dan Campbell also has minimal (but some) experience as a head coach serving as an interim with the Miami Dolphins in the past. Campbell is expected to bring Glenn, the Saints defensive backs coach, as previously mentioned, with him to Detroit, and it will be Glenn’s first time as a play-caller.
The Detroit Lions also recently interviewed the Baltimore Ravens quarterback coach, James Urban, to potentially replace current offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell.
It’s a host of fresh faces for an organization that had been in dire need of a facelift. Actually, it’s an organization that required open-heart surgery.
The fact that the Detroit Lions are interested in Urban to run their offense begs the question, what is Matthew Stafford‘s future, if any, with the organization? Urban has worked closely with reigning league MVP Lamar Jackson. What do Jackson and Stafford have in common? Virtually nothing.
Both quarterbacks are strong-armed throwers; one is extremely inaccurate. The other is more of a gunslinger that can throw NFL receivers open by rifling the football accurately into a tight window.
Jackson does bring a unique dimension that Stafford is unable to replicate. Jackson is an elite athlete with game-breaking speed. Jackson’s ability to run the football, whether as the play breaks down or a designed run, is exceptional. Jackson can strike fear into any defense with his legs.
Urban comes from the fruitful Andy Reid coaching tree. Urban spent seven years under Reid between 2004-2010 on the Philadelphia Eagles coaching staff, being elevated to quarterbacks coach in the final two. Urban then spent seven more years with the Cincinnati Bengals as the wide receivers’ coach before landing in Baltimore, transitioning back to the quarterbacks’ coach.
Matthew Stafford’s future will remain in doubt until Holmes gives everyone a firm answer. During his introductory interview, Holmes deflected the question surrounding Stafford’s future. It was a perfect answer, Holmes’ praised the veteran Stafford but left the door open for a potential parting of ways, per the Detroit Free Press;
"“Matthew, great player,” Holmes said. “And what you really appreciate is, I think the talent level is easy to see. But you really appreciate how his intangibles show on film. Just how urgent he plays, how competitive he is and the toughness that he shows. But it is my job to evaluate the entire roster and through that process I have not have had any discussions with Matt or any players, for that matter. So I just want to be fair to the process to make sure that we evaluate that thoroughly.”"
With Darrell Bevell out of the picture, it really makes you wonder if Stafford will be on the move. I dread the day if I am honest, but Holmes needs to do what is best for the organization.
Under Bevell’s system, Stafford excelled. Stafford had been on pace for 5,000 passing yards and 38 touchdowns in year one through eight games before the season-ending back injury. Last season Stafford completed 64.2 percent of his passes, totaling 4,084 yards, 26 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions.
Stafford performed much better after the organization fired Patricia. With Bevell as the head coach Stafford despite suffering an injured thumb, ankle, and ribs, completed nearly 67% of his passes, averaging nearly 300 yards per game, and posted a stellar 106 quarterback rating.
Even if Stafford remains with the franchise next season, we all know his time here is numbered.