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Lions Head Coach on Benching Stafford

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Detroit Lions Head Coach on Benching Stafford

The Lions continued their preparation for the Arizona Cardinals today with a practice in pads at the team’s headquarters and training facility in Allen Park.

During today’s presser Lions Head Coach Jim Caldwell had the following to say about the last time the Lions played the Cardinals and Stafford was benched.

On how QB Matthew Stafford has changed as a quarterback since the last time he played against the Cardinals and was benched: “That was a long time ago wasn’t it? It’s like how long, how far are you guys going to go back to things that are absolutely irrelevant? I mean, seriously. All I can tell you is, he’s been playing great for us. And you all can see it. Look at the numbers. Just look at what he’s been able to do. He’s been absolutely outstanding and I think he’s going to keep getting better. And I think that his focus is certainly not on that game. That was a while back. But nevertheless – can I finish please? But nevertheless, he’s done a tremendous job. He handled it like a pro. Nobody likes it when it does occur but the thing he didn’t do is he didn’t pout. He went after it the next week, played well. I’m not saying it was because of that incident, but I tell you what, he’s you look at the numbers, he’s been pretty, pretty strong for a long time now.”

On Stafford having played at a different level since being benched in 2015: “Yeah, and if you’re inferring that it had anything to do with the benching, I’d tell you no. I’d tell you no because the guy is the same guy, same drive, same will. Doesn’t mean he’s always going to have a perfect game, but Matthew’s a pretty special individual.”

On why he thought benching Stafford was the right move at the time: “You’re taking me back. Circumstances are completely different. The realm is completely different. And I’m not one of those guys that likes to look way back and talk about things that aren’t necessarily relevant at this time, which that is indeed, not relevant. If it was, I’d answer it for you guys and spend as much time as you want on it, but I just don’t think it’s relevant. And we do different things to deal with different situations and circumstances and at that point in time I thought that was the move we had to do.”

Detroit opens the 2017 regular season with a home clash against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 1. The Lions enter the 2017 regular season with a 2-2 preseason record, including wins over Indianapolis and the New York Jets. This year marks the first time since 2014 that the Lions open the season at Ford Field, as the two teams have met 66 times in the regular season (Detroit leads 33-28-5). The Cardinals have won the last seven meetings in the series, including the most recent matchup 42-17 in 2015.

Matthew Stafford on being benched.

On if he attributes being benched in 2015 against Arizona to his good stats since that time: “I don’t think so. I think that game in itself, it’s own game like every game is. I don’t sit back and go into this week and go, ‘Man, for 27 weeks, man, I’ve played pretty darn good ball. Looks like I’m going to play good again this week.’ You got to earn it every week and that’s just how I go about it.”

On if there is anything he learned about himself from being benched: “No, I’ve always felt I was a pretty resilient person. Came to this organization after an 0-16 and got beat up and hurt my first two years, and we weren’t very good, and battled through that. So, kind of known for a while that I’m a resilient human being, you have to be to play this position in this league. So, that was just another opportunity to prove it I guess.”

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