GREEN BAY, Wis. — Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford has no interest in talking about this year’s impressive class of rookie QBs.
“I think they’re pretty good, good players,” Stafford said without expounding any further in the final question of his short conference call with Wisconsin media Wednesday afternoon.
With the Lions (4-8) set to travel to Green Bay this Sunday night to face the Packers (8-4), it’s somewhat understandable why Stafford isn’t in the mood to talk about other players’ success.
Detroit’s season has not gone the way that Stafford expected, especially after the Lions reached the playoffs last year for the first time since 1999.
“We were winning some of those close games (last season),” Stafford said. “The ball was bouncing our way a little bit in some of those games, and that’s what it takes sometimes. At the same time, we were making some plays that we may or may not be making this year.”
The Lions have lost four games in a row, including one to the Packers in Detroit on Nov. 18.
“Obviously our record is not where we want it to be, and in the NFL, you are what your record says you are and we understand that,” Stafford said. “We’ve been in a lot of close games and haven’t been able to come out on top for one reason or another.”
Aside from the Lions, the rest of the NFC North has been very good this season. Green Bay and the Chicago Bears are both 8-4 and likely to make the playoffs, while the Minnesota Vikings have somewhat surprisingly hung tough in the division at 6-6.
“We’re just more worried about ourselves than anyone else, to tell you the truth,” Stafford said.
Making matters worse for Detroit is that the Lions franchise hasn’t won at Lambeau Field since 1991. Even 42-year-old kicker Jason Hanson — who was drafted by Detroit in 1992 — wasn’t on the team when the last Lions victory took place in Green Bay.
“I think for a lot of the guys, that streak’s been going on a lot longer than most of us have been around,” Stafford said. “The only guy probably old enough to remember it all is Hanson. We’re worried about the last three or four years, not getting a win there. We were obviously close last year. We played really well on offense (in the 45-41 loss last season), just didn’t get it done.”
Despite all of Detroit’s issues this season, Stafford leads the NFL in passing yards. However, those yards haven’t turned into points, with Stafford ranked 17th in touchdown passes.
Most of the Lions’ problems have been on defense, with the team ranked in the bottom half of the league in most major categories, including sacks, interceptions and total yards allowed.
“It’s been more than a rough couple of weeks; It’s been a whole month,” coach Jim Schwartz said. “(But) the teams that do the best in this league are the teams that can keep short-term focus.
“I’m proud of this football team. I’m proud of the way we’ve battled every single week. We’re in every single game, we fight every single game. We just need to come out with one more play to get the win rather than a close loss.”
If the Lions make enough plays to beat Green Bay on Sunday night, it won’t do much for Detroit’s already tenuous postseason hopes. But a loss for the Packers would increase the likelihood that the Bears end up winning the division and forcing Green Bay to settle for a Wild Card spot.