Two preseason games, two losses.
That's how things have gone for the Detroit Lions so far in 2019. A home setback last week to the New England Patriots by an ugly score of 31-3 and then a 30-23 loss at Houston last night with two more games to go before the regular season begins.
What fans have noticed the most, arguably, is that quarterback Matthew Stafford has yet to play a single snap. Joe Johnson and David Fales have assumed the quarterback duties following an injury to Tom Savage against the Patriots.
Meanwhile, Stafford had six days off from throwing following that particular loss. However, two strong practices have head coach Matt Patricia feeling optimistic about Stafford for the regular season.
“I think we had a lot of snaps out on the practice that we felt were really good for us offensively and felt we had the work that we needed to get in,” Patricia said. “And sometimes in the practice stuff, the scheme and some of the stuff that we’re doing is a little more elaborate than what we’re going to do in the game. So just thought it was a good opportunity to get the other guys equal kind of hopefully snaps and evaluate both of the players tonight.”
Patricia didn't elaborate much on whether Stafford would see any playing time in Detroit's third pre-season game against the Buffalo Bills on Friday.
“I’m not going to get into things too far in advance,” Patricia said. “I think we’ll figure that out as we go through the week but we’ll grind it out this week and try to see where we’re at.”
Patricia said he wanted to “avoid the overall analysis of” where Stafford is at currently, but went out of his way to say that he “has done a great job of learning” the Lions new offense under new offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, praising his work ethic.
“His work ethic and the way that he practices and the plays that he has out on the field (that he’s) trying to execute at a high level and really bring whoever’s out on the field along with him, that’s a big part of it, too,” Patricia said. “And getting used to different players. It’s new every year so everybody has to start over and everybody has to get used to the team and to the guys that are out there and that continual kind of coming together of those types of players, especially with the quarterback and the skill guys, that’s a big part of it. So we’re still working through that.”