The 2013 season didn’t end especially well for Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford.
In his final eight starts, Stafford had as many interceptions (13) as touchdowns (13). Overall, he finished with 19 picks, and his interceptions-to-attempts ratio was the worst it has been in any of his seasons with 16 starts.
However, after watching film of Stafford’s picks in 2013, Lions offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi came away with the feeling that the quarterback wasn’t an “interception machine,” Lombardi told reporters on Friday.
Lombardi, who was previously the Saints’ quarterbacks coach, noted that some interceptions couldn’t be pinned all on Stafford.
Stafford’s career numbers support the idea that he’s not exactly mistake-prone.
In five NFL seasons, Stafford has thrown 109 TDs and 73 interceptions in 2,497 attempts in a pass-first scheme. His talent is obvious, and that’s why his occasional shortcomings draw so much attention.
However, Stafford just turned 26 on Friday. There are quite a few teams who would happily take Stafford as-is, and there is a reason why Detroit signed him to an extension last year.
The promise of what Stafford could become is also one of the primary reasons the Lions’ offensive coordinator role looks so appealing on paper. In January, Lombardi told Eric Edholm of Yahoo! Sports that Stafford wasn’t “broken” and that the quarterback’s talent was considerable.
In short, there have been worse situations for a new offensive boss to inherit.