In the aftermath of Thursday's front office shake-up, Ian Rapoport reported that Matthew Stafford's job may not be safe beyond 2015. The report came as a bit of surprise, considering the front office has not shown any signs of wavering their support of the Detroit Lions quarterback.
Later in the day, Rapoport went on NFL Network and doubled-down on his report with some shocking details about how the coaching staff perceives Stafford (you can view the entire report here):
"I'm also told that Joe Lombardi, former offensive coordinator, was frustrated that he couldn't put enough on Stafford's plate, did not think he was able to handle it, was not taking as much control of the offense [...] In fact, new offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter actually had to simplify things for Stafford."
While Stafford has certainly come under fire this year more than any, he is generally not viewed as the major problem behind the offense's struggles (see: offensive line). If this report is accurate, it is a stunning revelation of what the current coaching staff thinks of Stafford. Publicly, Jim Caldwell and crew have been nothing but 100% supportive of Stafford, even after his benching earlier in the year.
But if Rapoport's story truly reflects the coach's opinion on Stafford, it is clearly not shared by Matthew's teammates. Dan Orlovsky went on a twitter tirade against Rapoport later in the day:
@RapSheet not going to sit back and let what's being said be said. Staff is highly highly intelligent, and has an even better football mind.— Dan Orlovsky (@danorlovsky7) November 5, 2015
@RapSheet just because an offense is tweaked or altered doesn't mean it's "dumbed-down". Great coaches adapt what they do to who they have— Dan Orlovsky (@danorlovsky7) November 5, 2015
@RapSheet when staff was breaking records, over multiple years. no one questioned his intelligence. Let's not start now bc of 1-7.— Dan Orlovsky (@danorlovsky7) November 5, 2015
@RapSheet and last time I checked dudes who aren't smart don't win Pro-Bowl MVP's.— Dan Orlovsky (@danorlovsky7) November 5, 2015
@RapSheet all I'm saying is I'm with the guy every day in meetings all year long. If someone could gauge his intelligence it would be— Dan Orlovsky (@danorlovsky7) November 6, 2015
@RapSheet someone who spends extensive time with him. He's very smart, and has a great football mind. That's fact.— Dan Orlovsky (@danorlovsky7) November 6, 2015
@RapSheet whatever else is out there isn't. You can quote me as your source unlike some others.— Dan Orlovsky (@danorlovsky7) November 6, 2015
Putting Orlovsky's point about the Pro Bowl MVP aside (really, Dan?), it's hard not to side with the backup quarterback. Indeed, Orlovksy should have a pretty good grasp on Stafford's football IQ. Additionally, Orlovsky had no real reason to respond to this report unless he truly felt his teammate was being woefully misrepresented. Coming out and throwing his full support behind Stafford wouldn't be surprising for Orlovsky if he was asked by a reporter, but Dan initiated the conversation himself, which exhibits the sincerity in his comments. For what it's worth, Sam Martin also offered his support of Stafford.
We may never know the coaching staff's true opinion on Stafford, as their time is likely limited with the organization, but the future of Lions' former first-round pick could be decided by as soon as next offseason.