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Monday, December 30, 2013
Stafford wouldn't mind input on next coach

By Michael Rothstein

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- His old coach had been officially fired for under an hour, but quarterback Matthew Stafford said he wouldn't mind having a voice in who his new coach might be.

Stafford
Stafford
"Yeah, sure," Stafford said. "But I'm not sure that will happen. It's not something I am concerning myself with at this point."

Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said players won't have input or involvement in the coaching search, but he has consulted with them about why things went wrong.

Stafford had been an ardent backer of both his former head coach, Jim Schwartz, and his former offensive coordinator, Scott Linehan. Schwartz was one of the people who showed enough faith in him out of Georgia to select him with the top pick in the 2009 NFL draft.

And both Schwartz and the organization had enough faith in Stafford to give him a three-year extension to his contract in July.

This is the first time in his career he has had to deal with a coaching change. He did not go through a coaching switch during his time with Georgia and had not in five seasons with the Lions.

He hasn't, though, thought about what he would like to see from his next coach.

"It's too early for me to think about that," Stafford said. "I've never been through this before and hopefully don't have to do it again."

He did say both he and the other players felt some responsibility for what happened at the end of the season and Schwartz being fired.

Stafford threw for fewer yards (4,650) and a lesser completion percentage (58.5) this season than he had since the 2010 season, when he dealt with shoulder injuries. His 19 interceptions were the most since his rookie year in 2009.

And when he was asked what could bring things together for a franchise that has had four seasons out of five of under-.500 records under Schwartz and Stafford, he said more players would always help.

"I don't know," Stafford said. "I think obviously we can add more players and add more pieces and we'll have somebody else leading the charge."