Matthew Stafford is getting plenty of press after signing a lengthy, lucrative contract extension with the Detroit Lions. This morning, Stafford joined Mike & Mike to discuss the ins and outs of the deal, the criticism that has come as a result, as well as his expectations for the upcoming 2013 season.
M&M: I was reading columns and the story was, you actually initiated this contract discussion. Tell us about the how and why.
MS: The team came up to me in my exit meeting and said they wanted to get it done. I wanted to get involved this offseason and not push it by the wayside, and from then on I was involved. I saw (Lions' team president) Tom Lewand quite often around the building and from there, we were able to work it out.
M&M: How has your leadership role elevated since coming into the league?
MS: That's something that comes with time, comes with respect from the guys. I wanted to make sure I'm in there and doing the right things. It's on the quarterback and I wanted to make sure I got that right.
M&M: Obviously, this contract is a big financial commitment. Does that commitment come with pressure?
MS: Not really. I put the pressure on myself, I want to be a great quarterback, win, go to the Super Bowl too. I put pressure on myself to win games and lead this team.
M&M: Donovan McNabb took issue with your deal, saying it comes down to wins and losses. He didn't believe you deserved it because you haven't won. Do you take issue with him?
MS: I understand his point of view. I am all about wins and losses as well. It hasn't happened for us consistently yet. That's very important at the quarterback position. i understand Donovan's point of view, but I am trying to please the Lions' coaches and players and nobody else.
M&M: Let's talk about the wins and losses. What happened? You go from 10 wins in 2011 to only 4 in 2012…
MS: We had some key injuries, we had some things that didn't go our way. We lost 9 or 10 games by 7 points. if you win half of those, you're 9-7. That's what we were doing in 2011 and we have to find a way to do that again, winning close games at the end.
M&M: You set a record for pass attempts last season. How important to have balance in an offense?
MS: I think it's very important. I think that was dictated a lot by how the game was going. Adding Reggie Bush to the mix, I think we'll be able to create a little more balance.
M&M: Let's talk about Reggie for a second. He's a guy that moves around a lot offensively and can do plenty of things. What's his role going to be in Detroit?
MS: I think he'll be a big weapon for us. We'll hand it off to him in the backfield and he can make people miss there too, but he can also be a great receiver for us out of the backfield. He's just another way for us to give defensive coordinators fits.
M&M: Can it come to a point where you depend on one guy (Calvin Johnson) too much? How does that affect an offense? In 2012, he was targeted 205 times by you, the most in the league.
MS: I think we'd love to be balanced on who gets the ball. At the same time, last season, we lost Jahvid Best, Brandon Pettigew, Titus Young, Nate Burleson for extended periods of time. I was throwing to guys I didn't have lots of experience with, so I was going to the guy that I knew the best. At the same time, we have to find ways to make defenses pay, and we've put a lot of work in this offseason trying to do just that.
M&M: When you're the number one pick, you get tons of money. Now, you end up getting even more. We need to know, what's the fun thing you're going to buy?
MS: Honestly, I haven't even thought of it. (Laughs) Obviously, I'm not playing this thing just for contracts. I'm just worried about getting ready for the season which is two weeks around the corner. I'll make sure to send you and email when I do buy something.
Later on, both Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic selected Stafford over Tony Romo when forced to choose which quarterback would be most likely live up to their big contract. It's fair to say they're buying in on Stafford having a large 2013 season.
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