The Lions haven’t had any consistent measure of success, but quarterback Matthew Stafford also hadn’t had to learn a new offense until this year.
But with coach Jim Schwartz replaced by Jim Caldwell, Stafford’s offseason has changed, and he hopes the results will too.
“I think I’ve embraced it,” Stafford said, via Mike O’Hara of the team’s official website. “It’s something that is obviously a challenge. I don’t see this as something that I’m on this path by myself, but at the same time, I know the guys on the team are going to look up to me.
“You never want to see coaches go, or people you’ve been with five-plus years, [backup quarterback] Shaun Hill included. But sometimes change can be a great thing. That’s the mindset I’ve taken into this.
“Frankly, to be successful after the changes, that’s the only mind-set you can have.“
The Lions added weapons to an already potent offense this offseason, with Golden Tate and first-round tight end Eric Ebron joining an already good mix.
So Stafford knows the pressure is on him more than ever, to prevent the kind of collapse (losing six of their last seven) that led to the wholesale changes.
“We know not only the significance for our season, our team and our livelihoods,” Stafford said. “But for the city, we knew what it would mean. Absolutely, we knew it.
“It wasn’t easy going through it, that’s for sure, but I think coming out of it on the other side we’ll be better for it.
“It was tough . . . not only for me personally but for our team.”
Losing players and coaches he was close to had to be tough for Stafford, but the remarkable losing was tougher, which is reason enough to welcome Caldwell.