Ex-Lions OC Linehan pleased to see Stafford’s progress

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News
Matthew Stafford and Scott Linehan are pictured in 2013.

Mobile, Ala. — Scott Linehan spent five years working closely with Matthew Stafford, experiencing the highs and lows of the Lions quarterback.

In the two years since the Lions fired Linehan from his job as offensive coordinator, Stafford has remained an inconsistent player, but Linehan said he was glad to see the quarterback have a strong finish to the 2015 season.

“From afar, it looked like he played great, so I was very happy for him,” Linehan said at the Senior Bowl Wednesday. “It looked like some things were clicking and turned into some wins.”

Linehan has worked with the Cowboys the past two seasons and was offensive coordinator in 2015. Dallas’ coaching staff is working with the North team at the Senior Bowl this week.

The Lions went 6-2 in the second half of the season after a 1-7 start, and improved play from Stafford was a key reason for the turnaround. Stafford had the best eight-game stretch of his career to close the season, posting a 110.1 passer rating, completing 70 percent of his passes and having a 19-to-2 touchdown-to-interception ratio.

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Because he works for another team, Linehan declined to provide much of an evaluation of Stafford.

“I follow him close,” Linehan said. “He doesn’t play on my team anymore, so my focus is on the guys I have now. But I’ve just always followed him very close and wish him nothing but the best.”

Linehan also said he’s enjoying coaching at the Senior Bowl, something he did in 2013 along with the rest of Jim Schwartz’s staff.

“It kind of gets us back on the field, start turning the page and getting ready for next season,” he said.