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LIONS EXECUTIVE VP AND GM BOB QUINN DISCUSSES LIONS QB MATTHEW STAFFORD DURING SEASON ENDING PRESS CONFERENCE

The following is excerpts from Lions Executive Vice President and General Manager Bob Quinn’s season-ending press conference on Friday, January 4, 2019.

BOB QUINN TALKS ABOUT LIONS QB MATHEW STAFFORD

On the trade rumors surrounding QB Matthew Stafford and what he went through this season with his back injury: “Matthew Stafford is our quarterback. He will be our quarterback here. Listen, this guy is a really talented player. Myself (and) the coaches need to put him in better situations to allow him to use his skillset. Matt’s extremely tough, he’s extremely diligent in his work ethic. He sets a great example for all of our players, and really all of our staff, of how to go about his job. And the injury situation, the injury report is what it was all season. He had the back thing, and he went through numerous things where he wanted to play through it and our doctors said he could play through it, and he showed a lot of toughness. That’s a credit to him. That’s one thing I’ll never, ever question. This guy loves football, he’s competitive, he’s talented. We need to do a better job of putting better players around him and scheming up things better to use his talent.”

On if there are plans to trade QB Matthew Stafford: “No. Matthew Stafford is our quarterback.”

On if he would view QB Matthew Stafford differently if his contract situation was different and how he holds Stafford accountable for his performance: “His contract is what it is, we talked about that a couple years ago when we signed it. So, I think that’s truly a non-factor. It is what it is. To hold him accountable, I think Matthew Stafford holds himself accountable at a very high level. I think Matthew’s kind of a reserved guy with you guys. I think in the locker room, in the meeting rooms, on the practice field, this guy holds himself at a very, very high standard, and that resonates with his teammates, that resonates with the staff. We didn’t win enough games, Matthew didn’t have as great stats as he normally does, and we’re going to improve that in the offseason.”

On QB Matthew Stafford being held accountable for the offense’s midseason struggles: “We went through a rough stretch in the middle of the season, there’s no question. It was a combination of we had some injuries, we had some things that were happening during the games defensively that kind of affected the offense. We kind of put them in some bad situations. Special teams, field position—it’s not just Matthew Stafford. That’s not what this is. We have 53 players on the team every week. We have 46 that dress. So, just because he’s the quarterback and he touches that ball every play on offense doesn’t mean he gets all the blame. The blame can be passed around. It starts with me, it starts with the coaches, and it starts with everybody on the team. It’s not his fault.”

On what he’s looking for in a new offensive coordinator and how involved he is in the selection process: “This is primarily Matt (Patricia) making the hire. I will help him with some research on candidates that I might have some background on or might have worked with or have been associated with in my time in the League. So, we’ll have those conversations. Matt will hire the offensive coordinator. We’re looking for someone that improves the offense. I think we want a balanced attack, like we talked about before. We want to be able to run the ball, we want to be able to use our quarterback because he has a ton of talent. So, we want to be diverse. We’re not going to sit there and be in four wide receivers, shot gun every play and throw it 45 times. That’s not good for anybody. On the other hand, we’re not going to be three tight ends and run the ball 40 times. We need to do, like I think I said in my opening statement, we need to do a better job of going into each week looking at the opponent and say, ‘How are we going to beat this team?’ If they have a great run defense and a poor pass defense, maybe we throw it 45 times and vice versa. So, we want someone that thinks that way, that thinks that, ‘Hey, I have an offense, but my offense is adaptable. I can change week-to-week, or I can change from this week if I have this set of receivers, and two weeks later I don’t.’ We just need to figure it out. That’s what coaches get paid to do. I think it was a great example—Week 17, we had our fourth, fifth, sixth, maybe even seventh string receivers and we played one of our best games on offense. So, I think that’s what offensive coordinators, coaches, defensive coordinators in general, have to do. They have to adapt. Your playbook might look like one thing in Week 1, your roster might look like one thing in Week 1. Week 7, Week 9 could look totally different. So, I think that’s kind of what we’re looking for, if that answers your question.”

On if he understands the public’s frustration with Stafford and the perceived narrative that there is always a missing ingredient to winning: “I do. I don’t know if there’s something to it. I understand the outside perception. What I know on the inside is, working with this quarterback every day, seeing his car in the parking lot, early in the morning, late at night. I know what he does when he goes home, he puts the girls to bed and he works. I see that every day. I see what he does to get his body ready to play football. I see what he does on the practice field. Great example, you know, you guys are there for the first part of practice, but—so, we went through the change mid-season when we had a bunch of those new receivers come in, so Bruce (Ellington), right? So, Matt (Stafford) doesn’t make a big deal about it, because you guys know Matthew, he’s very lowkey. The stuff he does in the community is under the radar, right? A lot of the stuff he does in this building is under the radar. He doesn’t make a big deal out of it. He doesn’t tell Coach (Patricia), or his quarterbacks coach, or the coordinator, ‘Hey, I’m going to do this. I’m going to do that.’ He just kind of goes about his business in a quiet way and does it. And when we had that stretch there, Week 9, 10, we were trying to get Bruce (Ellington) ready to play. I think Bruce was inactive for the first game he was here, I believe. Our goal was, ‘Hey, week two, you get ready.’ I’m just telling you, like, from the second day Bruce Ellington was here, to when he started playing, and when he was on the roster and playing, Matthew Stafford spent time before practice, after practice, extra time in the meeting room, trying to get guys comfortable with the new receivers. Same thing with Andy Jones, like, listen. We had to count on Andy Jones who started the year on PUP, right? We had to release him, put him on the practice squad, I believe for a week and then called him up. Matthew Stafford, he doesn’t care if you’re Kenny Golladay, you’re Kerryon Johnson, when Calvin (Johnson Jr.) was here, I’m sure he did it with him, I was not here then, to Andy Jones, to Bruce Ellington, to Brandon Reilly on the practice squad, to Justin Stockton on the practice squad. I remember seeing him pull aside Justin Stockton on the practice squad, the last week of the season and teach him one little thing. Like, it was a 30-second conversation, but to a practice squad running back that’s been here for three weeks, that’s important. I understand what you’re saying, I really do. But when you live in this building, and you live with this guy, there’s things that go very unnoticed with him that are very, very valuable.”

On if Stafford will be involved in the search for an offensive coordinator: “I don’t think so. I think Matt’s (Patricia) going to hire this guy. Matthew Stafford is very opinionated on a lot of things in terms of players, coaches, maybe Matt (Patricia) will reach out to him and ask him about, ‘Hey, call your friend at this team and ask about him.’ I’m not sure, we haven’t gone that far yet.”

On if he believes the Lions can win a Super Bowl with Stafford as the quarterback: “I do, yes.”

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