After over a decade, Matthew Stafford is on his way out in Detroit.
As first reported by Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, Stafford and the Detroit Lions have mutually agreed to part ways this offseason. Stafford privately conveyed to team officials that, in light of the hiring of a new regime, he felt it was an appropriate time to move on and seek a fresh start. Lions officials agreed, and will begin to explore trade negotiations in the weeks to come.
Stafford has two years and $43 million remaining on his contract. He has performed well when healthy. He started all 16 games in 2020, throwing for over 4,000 yards for the first time since 2017. Stafford is also known for his durability, having started all 16 games in all but one season since 2011.
Rumors that Stafford is ready to move on have lingered for some time. He turns 33 at the start of February, and was unlikely to want to sit through another rebuild in Detroit while he’s still playing at a fairly high level. He figures to attract a significant market once the Lions start actively shopping him.
Photo: A Healthier Michigan/Flickr via cc-by-sa 2.0
The Detroit Lions have their new braintrust in place, and the first thing they might have to deal with is Matthew Stafford’s future with the organization.
Trade rumors followed the quarterback last offseason, and it appears likely that the same will happen this offseason. Boomer Esiason added fuel to the fire on Wednesday, saying on CBS Sports Radio that he is hearing that Stafford “wants out” of Detroit.
This wouldn’t necessarily be a huge shock, especially if the Lions think they will need a couple years to be competitive. Stafford turns 33 in February, and he won’t want to wait around through another rebuild. That makes a trade more likely.
Stafford started all 16 games for the Lions in 2020, throwing for 4,084 yards, 26 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. Perhaps he may yet be won over by his new coach’s press conferences.
Photo: A Healthier Michigan/Flickr via cc-by-sa 2.0
Dan Campbell has yet to coach a game or hold a practice with the Detroit Lions, but we can already say with confidence that he will be the most intense head coach in football next season.
Campbell was officially introduced as the new head coach of the Lions on Thursday. The highlight of the press conference was when he spoke about the losing that has gone on in Detroit for years now. The former NFL tight end said he can’t guarantee wins, but he can promise his players are going to “bite a kneecap off” after they get knocked down.
You can see some of the fiery speech below, but beware that it contains a curse word:
Now we know why the Lions were impressed with Campbell.
Campbell was an assistant head coach and tight ends coach for the New Orleans Saints prior to taking the Detroit job. He was with the Miami Dolphins from 2010-2015 before that and served as their interim coach in 2015 after Joe Philbin was fired.
Those who have heard this absolutely legendary story about Campbell probably were not surprised by his press conference on Thursday. If nothing else, the guy is going to be a quote machine.
The Detroit Lions appear to have their next head coach.
The Lions are expected to hire Dan Campbell as their head coach. The news emerged on Sunday after the New Orleans Saints were eliminated from the playoffs.
Campbell is an assistant head coach and tight ends coach for the Saints. He has been with New Orleans since 2016.
Prior to New Orleans, Campbell was with Miami from 2010-2015. He served as their interim head coach in 2015 after Joe Philbin was fired and went 5-7 in 12 games.
The Lions went 5-11 this season and had three straight losing seasons under Matt Patricia, who was fired midseason. One thing we can say about Campbell is you’ll never be able to question his toughness. Just read this legendary story about it.
San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh is expected to be one of the hottest names on the coaching market this offseason, and it’s shaping up that way so far.
49ers general manager John Lynch revealed Monday that the Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Atlanta Falcons have all asked for permission to interview Saleh for their head coaching positions. That means at least three of the six teams with coaching vacancies want to talk to Saleh, with more to possibly come.
Saleh was a big-name coaching candidate last offseason after the 49ers reached the Super Bowl, largely on the strength of his defensive unit. This year he appears even more likely to land a job. He’s been linked to the Lions before, as he is a Michigan native who got his start in coaching at Michigan State.
The Jaguars’ request is an indication that they are running a full and comprehensive search, even though it sounds like there’s one huge name they may be targeting.
As expected, Eric Bieniemy is in high demand as an NFL head coach candidate.
The Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator has at least three interviews lined up for head coaching vacancies around the league. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Atlanta Falcons, Detroit Lions, and New York Jets have formally requested permission to speak to Bieniemy about their coaching positions.
It’s no surprise to see Bieniemy near the top of a lot of teams’ wishlists. That was the case last offseason as well, though he didn’t land a job then. Bieniemy, who has been in charge of the Kansas City offense since 2018, has received a lot of credit for the Chiefs’ exciting and innovative offense. It seems like he has an excellent chance of getting a job this time around.
It’s worth noting the absence of one team from this list that has a quarterback that appears very interested in working with Bieniemy.
The Detroit Lions came up with a huge goal line stand in a tight game against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, but it was wiped away by a highly questionable roughing the passer call.
The Lions stopped the Vikings four straight times from the 1-yard line, the fourth of which was a huge sack by cornerback Tracy Walker. Walker came through the line of scrimmage untouched to sack Cousins for a huge loss, but he was called for roughing the passer. The official ruled that he landed on Cousins with his body weight.
Here’s a video of the play:
The Vikings were awarded an automatic first down, and Cousins scored on a QB sneak two plays later to give them a 37-29 lead.
We understand the body weight rule, which was implemented to protect quarterbacks from defenders landing on them with all their body weight and driving them into the turf. It did not look like that happened in this instance. Walker came in full-speed and appeared to avoid stuffing Cousins by rolling off his back.
That was just about as bad as a similar penalty we saw against Kentavius Street earlier this year when he sacked Drew Brees. You can watch that play here and compare.
The Detroit Lions are one of several teams looking for a new general manager this offseason, and they reportedly have their eye on a very big name.
The Lions are planning to pursue Seattle Seahawks GM John Schneider for their GM vacancy, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports.
Schneider is one of the most respected executives in the NFL. He and Pete Carroll have built teams that got the Seahawks to two NFC Championship wins and a Super Bowl title. Seattle has an overall record of 111-63-1 since the two began working together.
However, as Rapoport Notes, Carroll has the final say over roster decisions. That means another team could interview Schneider under the NFL’s anti-tampering rules if the interested team offers Schneider full control. Because of that, more than one team is expected to express interest in Schneider.
Schneider has just one year remaining on his contract, while Carroll recently signed an extension that runs through the 2025 season.
The Lions are 5-10 this season and could be looking at a near total rebuild. They have already been linked to one other big-name executive, but you can understand why Schneider is their top target.
The Detroit Lions were taken apart on Saturday in the first half by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who put up 34 points. Detroit is 5-9, has a replacement coach filling in for their interim coach, and clearly has packed it in for the game.
Westwood One radio analyst Jim Miller noticed that and was extremely frustrated during the first half. According to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, Miller compared the Lions’ defense to a sixth grade pick-up team.
The commentary is fitting. The Lions embarrassed themselves in the first half and that only continued in the second half.
If the team won’t even play for pride, then Miller is right to call them out for their shoddiness.
The Detroit Lions were definitely up against it facing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Saturday, but even under the circumstances, it was shocking to see how bad they were in the first half.
The Lions trailed at halftime 34-0 as they were consistently torn apart by Tom Brady and the Buccaneers’ offense. In total, it was the worst first half performance by any NFL team from a defensive standpoint in a decade.
There are games where teams don’t get 410 yards of total offense, much less halves. Things were so lopsided that the Buccaneers simply sat Brady for the second half, bringing in Blaine Gabbert to see out the rest of the game while resting some regulars.
While few would have predicted it would get this bad, the Lions being flat isn’t exactly a shock. The major figures on their coaching staff are missing for this reason, and the team is looking ahead to 2021. That doesn’t excuse the performance, but there’s some context to how bad it is.