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Matthew Stafford embracing Lions' eventful offseason

Change is rarely easy, especially in the NFL.

When the Detroit Lions dumped coach Jim Schwartz, offensive coordinator Scott Linehan and most of the offensive staff, quarterback Matthew Stafford knew he was in for a demanding offseason.

"I think I've embraced it," he told the team's official website. "It's something that is obviously a challenge. I don't see this as something that I'm on this path by myself, but at the same time, I know the guys on the team are going to look up to me.

"You never want to see coaches go, or people you've been with five-plus years, (backup quarterback) 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."

Nearly every Lions offseason move -- hiring Jim Caldwell and Joe Lombardi, signing wideout Golden Tate and drafting pass-catching tight end Eric Ebron -- was made with a mind on unlocking Stafford's potential.

Still only 26 years old, Stafford enters his sixth season learning a new offense for the first time since his rookie year. So far coaches and teammates have praised his work ethic in mastering Lombardi's scheme.

"There was so much uncertainty, just trying to figure out how we'd run this offense," Stafford said of spending his time this offseason studying with the new staff. "I just wanted to make sure that once we started playing and practicing, I was as well equipped and well prepared as I could be."

"It was kind of exciting, honestly, learning something new."

The "offseason of Stafford" is winding down as training camp approaches. The quarterback has been given more weapons than any of his rivals and an offensive system that should fit him snugly. The conditions couldn't be more ideal for Stafford to bury the questions about where he ranks in the quarterback pecking order.

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