Now is not the time for players and management to be pointing fingers, but much-maligned quarterback Matthew Stafford claims he never bought into the game plan former Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi used while he served the team in that capacity.
It’s easy to talk about it once the guy falls on the sword and is no longer with the organization.
If Stafford hasn’t noticed, especially after the Lions have had the week off, his team still lost in a big way last week to Kansas City in London – without Lombardi on the sidelines.
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NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported on NFL Network's GameDay Morning that the former No. 1 overall pick's future is was very much in doubt even before the recent front office firings, including the dismissal of offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi.
"Stafford never really bought into offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi," Rapoport said. "He was essentially nursing a hangover from the loss of Scott Linehan, his preferred offensive coordinator."
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"(Stafford and Lombardi) were never on the same page. The hope now is with new offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter, that Stafford will get back to what he was doing two years ago."
The fact the Lions have to pay Stafford much more than his worth would indicate the final years of his contract may be another reason the team may decide to go in another direction, sooner rather than later.
Per Rapoport, the Lions are considering options to replace Stafford and his $17 million salary in 2016 - taking a $22 million salary cap hit - especially if they have an early draft pick.
There is a thought both Jared Goff of California and Connor Cook of Michigan State could be top 10 draft picks in 2016. Right now, the Lions hold the top pick in April’s draft pool.
So far, the house cleaning of management has not meant the team will part ways with current head coach Jim Caldwell.
The feeling is Caldwell will be allowed to finish out the season. A new general manager and team president will also need to be hired – allowing the new regime to decide the fate of the team’s future – with or without Stafford behind center.
Right now, there is no backup who can give this team a future.