The Detroit Lions are approaching the end of a disappointing year and quarterback Matthew Stafford is front and center when discussing root causes.
Stafford is mired in a down year, although the root factors are debatable.
The veteran signal caller is not delivering the downfield throws he excelled at last year, there are moments where he appears to be misreading the coverage and his supporting cast might be the worst of his career.
Another factor to consider is the string of pass defenses the Lions have faced off with.
After Sunday afternoon's action, Lions opponents have permitted 231 passing yards against per game with an average of 23 touchdown passes and 13 interceptions for the year. Stafford is averaging slightly better yardage with 243 per game while he's thrown less touchdown passes (19) and less interceptions (11).
So when considering Stafford's depressed year, it's important to realize he's produced at par considering the team's he's faced.
The problem with that is the Lions need their franchise quarterback to be well above average.
It's highly unlikely that Stafford plays elsewhere next year as his contract is prohibitive, from a salary cap perspective, to movement over the next couple years.
Even not considering his contract, it'd be a tall task to find a replacement quarterback to approach Stafford's on field ability and accomplishments.
So what that all means is the Lions need to figure out a way to maximize Stafford's production. Examples of coaching sparking offensive production are plentiful in the league and that's the first place the Lions need to look.
The team needs to significantly adjust their offensive approach, which they may do by replacing current offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter. They also need to inject some speed and shiftiness to their skill positions.
This must be offseason priority number one.