When the Detroit Lions drafted quarterback Matthew Stafford in 2009, Jim Schwartz was in his first year as the team's head coach and Scott Linehan was in his first year as the team's offensive coordinator. Both Schwartz and Linehan remained in those jobs until they were let go following the conclusion of the 2013 season. This means that for Stafford's first five seasons in the NFL, there was a lot of stability from a coaching standpoint, which is pretty amazing when you consider that the Lions only had one winning season in that time.
This year, with the Lions making a coaching change and hiring Jim Caldwell, Stafford has had a much different offseason than usual. He's had to learn a new offense, and he's had to get used to working with several new coaches. A big focus of the Lions' coaching change was to surround Stafford with people who have worked with some of the NFL's best quarterbacks, and he now has guys like Caldwell, offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi and quarterbacks coach Jim Bob Cooter coaching him.
In a recent interview with the Lions' official site, Stafford talked about what this offseason of change has been like for him. He admitted that all of this change has been a "challenge," but he also said that he has "embraced it." Here's more from Stafford:
"You never want to see coaches go, or people you’ve been with five-plus years, Shaun Hill included. But sometimes change can be a great thing. That’s the mindset I’ve taken into this.
"Frankly, to be successful after the changes, that’s the only mind-set you can have."
The changes for Stafford this offseason haven't been limited to a new scheme and some new faces on the coaching staff. Those new coaches have set out to make Stafford a better quarterback, and for him that means making changes to some things on the field, such as footwork, mechanics and decision-making. His style of play isn't exactly undergoing a complete makeover, but a lot of the Lions' changes this offseason have revolved around making him a more consistent quarterback. It remains to be seen if that will be the end result, but as Stafford said, "sometimes change can be a great thing." The Lions are certainly hoping this is one of those times.