When Marc Trestman was installed as new Bears coach and de facto major-domo of the offense, he was even-handed in his take on quarterback Jay Cutler. GM Phil Emery used the word “franchise” in his assessment of Cutler; Trestman was complimentary but conspicuously non-effusive in talking about his presumptive starting quarterback.
Compare that with the tone in Detroit.
Joe Lombardi recently joined new coach Jim Caldwell’s staff as the Detroit Lions’ offensive coordinator. As such, he becomes the new keeper/trainer of Matthew Stafford, the sometimes-brilliant, too-often-not quarterback of a franchise.
Lombardi is excited. Not worried. Just…
"The good news is that he's not broken, that much is clear" Lombardi told Eric Edholm, writer on Yahoo Sports “Shutdown Corner” site and a former editor with Pro Football Weekly. Talking at this week’s Senior Bowl work in Mobile, Ala., Lombardi essentially described early Cutler when talking about Stafford:
"There's an awful amount of talent there. His arm is something to behold. We used to sit in the [New Orleans] Saints quarterback room and just marvel at his passes — all the depths, the whole field in play. He really can sling it. That's a great thing to have.”
Trestman was certainly excited about taking over in Chicago. But his quarterback was in the final year of a contract; he was under no obligation to like anything about Cutler, who wasn’t an Emery acquisition in the first place.
Stafford, on the other hand, is the Detroit Lions quarterback. Period. He is in the midst of a five-year deal worth $76.5 million and running through 2017. Lombardi is stuck with Stafford, and to be less than enthused about a quarterback with big numbers and small achievements would have been to effectively question the judgment of the organization that lavished that contract on Stafford last July.
Stafford arguably is the central player reason for coach Jim Schwartz being out. Stafford has thrown no fewer than 16 interceptions in any of the last three seasons.
Nevertheless, "I am not worried about Matthew,” Lombardi told Yahoo’s Edholm. “I am excited to be working with him, and we'll get started soon. I can't wait."
Then again, what would you expect him to say?