Matthew Stafford didn’t exactly have a banner year in 2013 after averaging 5,000 yards passing in the previous two seasons. The team finished the season on a 2-6 streak that saw some ugly play not just from Stafford, but from the whole Detroit Lions squad.
Now, with new coaches and a new system being installed, running back Reggie Bush believes Stafford is poised to put his struggles behind him and lead the Lions back to the playoffs.
“There is not a lot Matt can’t do,” Bush said. “I think coach Lombardi’s gonna be really good for him. A guy who coached for a great quarterback Drew Brees and under Sean Payton and they’ve done a lot of great things down there in New Orleans and I was part of that. I think it’s going to be a great offense for Matt and it’s gonna be a big year for him.”
Bush refers to new Detroit offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi, who is looking to create an up-tempo offense in the same vein as that found in New Orleans. The running back is obviously familiar with such a system and speaks from experience when he says he believes Stafford can do it.
Stafford’s best season in Detroit came in 2011, when he threw for 5,038 yards and 41 TDs to only 16 INTs. The Lions went 10-6 that season and made the playoffs for the first time since 1999. They had more help on offense for Stafford and receiver Calvin Johnson, which is a common theme with the preamble for 2014.
This year, the Lions have added receiver Golden Tate and drafted tight end Eric Ebron to help Stafford return to his 2011 form. If he can do that, the Lions will be a force to reckon with in an NFC North that’s shaping up to be one of the deepest divisions in football.