Former New Orleans Saints fullback and current NFL Network analyst Heath Evans is at it again. Evans has notoriously gone after the Detroit Lions several times in his five years with NFL Network. He went after Matthew Stafford in 2011, comparing him to the then-unproven Cam Newton and predicting he and the Lions as the most likely team to get exposed in Week 1 that year (The Lions won in their season opener, made the playoffs, and Stafford enjoyed his most successful season to date).
A few years later, Evans reported that Ndamukong Suh was challenging Jim Schwartz's leadership in the locker room by showing up late and having secret player meetings, a claim that was thoroughly debunked by nearly everyone in the Lions organization.
Now Evans is going after Stafford and the Lions offense again. According to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, Evans believes the Lions would have been better served to keep offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi:
"It’ll get figured out," NFL Network analyst Heath Evans said at the Super Bowl last week. "Listen, it’s not a knock on Matthew. Matthew’s been a very streaky quarterback. But what (former offensive coordinator) Joe (Lombardi) was trying to implement there is what Matthew needed. To be an elite (QB) and to do what Matthew, I believe, is capable of doing physically, he need that mental challenge and that mental stimulation."
Now I don't believe that certain analysts have it out for specific teams or anything, but Evans' clearly is sticking to his guns regarding Stafford. He didn't believe in Stafford back before the 2011 season and he clearly doesn't now.
Evans dances around the idea that Stafford isn't intelligent enough for Lombardi's offense, going back to a rumor that the former offensive coordinator didn't believe Stafford could handle everything on his plate. He may not say it outright, but Evans clearly agrees with the rumors. From the above Birkett article:
I’m sure Matthew knew all the X's and O's, but the mental progress, or the process of that offense at the line of scrimmage, I’m telling you, Drew (Brees), Peyton (Manning), Tommy (Brady), these guys are like, these are brain surgeons. And maybe Joe needed to back off because, just maybe, Matthew wasn’t capable of some of that stuff.
Evans' opinions come as no surprise. He is a self-described "homer" who played under Lombardi for two seasons and has been a loud personality since joining NFL Network back in 2011.
But his refusal to make Lombardi culpable for any of the Lions' offensive struggles is laughable. Not only did Stafford's play improve once Jim Bob Cooter took over offensive coordinator duties, but so did the offensive line and the Lions' running game.
Regardless of reality, Evans is going to keep on doing what he does best: antagonize. His unpopular opinions are not reserved for Lions fans. 49ers fans hate him. As do Eagles fans (in fairness, he was right about Chip Kelly). And Dolphins fans, too. But that's what Evans does, and he does it well.