Schwartz: No rift between Calvin, Stafford
Amidst all the frustration of Matthew Stafford nearly doubling his career interception total in three quarters Sunday, as the Lions managed to waste a 17-0 lead in a 32-20 loss to the Seahawks, the Fox cameras captured a icy moment between the rookie quarterback and his star receiver, Calvin Johnson, on the sidelines.
The shot showed Stafford trying to explain something to Johnson, who was trying very hard to ignore the rookie, spawning a short-lived controversy about the presumed lack of chemistry between the two players.
According to Lions head coach Jim Schwartz, who addressed the subject with both of the principals, it's not an issue.
"There’s no issue there. I’ve talked to the players, I haven’t looked at TV copy, or anything else," Schwartz said in his Monday news conference. "Good gracious, if there was a camera on every single person, on every single play, you could read between the lines on a million different things. ... You want to be happy and cheerful, and win football games, and there’s things that you’ve got to work through, and there’s gonna be times where you need to talk things out. I don’t even see it as being an issue. I know it’s not for the players, and I don’t understand why someone would make it an issue. It’s not even an issue."
"There’s no problem with us, you know? People are just blowing that out of proportion," said the third-year receiver, who admitted he hadn't seen the footage in question. "I don’t care to see it, because I know there’s nothing out there, there’s no problem."
Whatever the issue, real or imagined between the two, both had to be frustrated with the performance of the offense, as a whole.
After seven interceptions in his first five starts, Stafford finished with five in Sunday's game alone, including an interception returned for a touchdown in the fourth, as the Lions were trying to drive for a go-ahead score. In his return from a knee injury which cost him two full games and most of another, Johnson had just two catches for 27 yards, despite being targeted nine times.
"Frustrated with the loss, you know? You win, all that’s out the window. Just frustrated with losing," said Johnson, when asked about the source of his frustration. "It’s a loss, and no one’s going to be happy about that. Something’s wrong with you, if you are. It’s been a while now, definitely. Since I’ve been here, we haven’t gotten enough wins. It’s definitely frustrating."