Lions analyst: “No doubt in my mind” Stafford can win in this league

Matthew Stafford Lions
Photo credit USA Today Images
By CBS Sports Radio

Matthew Stafford has spent his entire career in Detroit. The first overall pick in 2009, Stafford has led the Lions to the playoffs three times, losing in the Wild Card each time – most recently in 2016.

The Lions, who are 14-33-1 over the last three seasons, could move on from Stafford – and anyone on the roster – this offseason. Indeed, new general manager Brad Holmes said that “everything is on the table” as a new regime takes over in Detroit.

“If you trade Matthew Stafford, you’re rebuilding; if you keep Matthew Stafford, you’re retooling,” Lions play-by-play voice Dan Miller outlined on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “That’s the way it’s kind of seen around here. You have a split. You have people that say, ‘It’s time to blow this thing up, start from scratch, get draft capital, turn it all around and start over.’ And then you have people that say, ‘This offense is pretty good.’”

In addition to Stafford, the Lions have a nice core of Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones Jr., T.J. Hockenson, and D’Andre Swift.

“You have some real pieces on offense,” Miller said. “If you can put a defense together, you can make some stuff happen. [Holmes] said during the press conference [that he] loves Matthew Stafford, loves his intangibles. But he said if you are really looking at a roster and evaluating a roster, everything is on the table. So he didn’t show his cards. He didn’t tell anybody, ‘Hey, we’re trading him,’ or ‘Hey, we’re keeping him,’ which he shouldn’t say. 

“But he did say – and I think it’s the appropriate response – when you’re coming in as a general manager, when you’re evaluating the entire roster, you have to say everything is on the table,” Miller continued. “There are no sacred cows. You’re trying to figure this thing out and do the best you can to rebuild this thing – and that course of action depends on what happens here in the next couple of months. That might involve Matthew Stafford; that might not. We don’t know where that’s headed right now.”

Stafford completed 64.2 percent of his passes for 4,084 yards, 26 touchdowns and 10 interceptions this season. He turns 33 in February.

Miller hopes Stafford remains a Lion.

“That would hurt me [if he left],” Miller said. “I’m invested. I make no bones about the fact that I want this team to win. I’m a big fan of Matthew Stafford – big fan. I want to see him win here. But ultimately, I want to see him win. But if it has to be somewhere else because they think that’s the best way to turn this franchise around, then that’s the way it’ll have to be done. But I’m a guy who roots for Matthew Stafford. . . . Matthew Stafford can win in this league. There’s no doubt in my mind. 

“But he needs more help than he’s gotten here,” Miller continued, “and that’s why you have a new general manager. Now whether or not that will involve him remains to be seen, but just the fact that you’ve had this big regime change tells you that what they’ve done to this point has not been good enough.”