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Matthew Stafford avoids Patricia criticism after firing: 'It's important to win'

Matthew Stafford is confronting the reality of a coaching change yet again in his Lions career.

At 4-7 and fresh off a Thanksgiving loss, the news was hardly surprising. But with his 33rd birthday coming in February and just three playoff appearances (all losses) under his belt, it would be understandable if Stafford had run out of patience with the Lions.

After all, the team just ran out of patience with its coach and general manager, firing both and hitting the reset button on the franchise once more. Stafford was asked if it's important that a coach be well-liked in order to breed success within an organization that hasn't enjoyed much of it over the last two decades, and his response was honest, somewhat predictable and unfortunately for he and the fans of the Lions, unusually difficult for the franchise to achieve.

"I think it's important to win," Stafford said. "I think that's the most important thing. I think everybody's experiences are going to be seen through the lens of wins and losses. If you have this lens of a bunch of success, a bunch of wins, everybody has a great look on it. And if it's the opposite, I think it can turn it a little bit worse than maybe it was.

"I think the biggest thing is to win. That's not a head coach by himself thing or a GM by himself thing, that's a team thing, that's an everybody thing. We've got to do a good job of making sure that we have that mindset coming into the next five games and make sure we do everything we can to get those wins."

Detroit has had an interesting season if not a frustrating one, featuring games in which the Lions demonstrated they can compete, followed by contests in which they were little more than participants in the official game book. The end of the Matt Patricia era could be seen from miles away, especially after the fashion in which the Lions lost Thursday.

Lions fans can at least rest their heads at night knowing their team has a franchise quarterback -- for now. Stafford could part ways with the Lions in the offseason once his dead cap number drops from an untenable $47.5 million to $24.85 million in 2021, but Detroit doesn't exactly have his replacement waiting in the wings.

As of now, Stafford isn't spending any time worrying about his future. He has games left to try to win with Darrell Bevell now serving as his interim head coach.

"We'll talk about that and figure all of that out at a later date," Stafford said. ... "Not going to spend any mental energy on it. Don't want to clog up the bandwidth."

The Lions will need all the bandwidth they can find in the final month of the season if they want to finish near .500. And if the future doesn't include Stafford, it might be best if Detroit's winning percentage doesn't flirt with that mark.

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