DETROIT – The Detroit Lions won't be playing in the Super Bowl any time soon, but one former player doesn't believe quarterback Matthew Stafford is to blame.
Former Lions tight end Joseph Fauria complimented Stafford on the "Outta Bounds" podcast.
"I'm a big fan of Matt," Fauria said. "If it wasn't for him, I wouldn't have gotten the touchdowns I did. I think he's great. I think he is a force. I think he's a great leader and actually he's a tough (guy)."
Fauria played 23 games for the Lions in 2013 and 2014, and caught 24 passes for 281 yards and eight touchdowns in his career. He went undrafted out of UCLA but exploded onto the scene in 2013 when he hauled in seven touchdowns on just 16 catches.
Fauria was asked how much blame Stafford deserves for the latest chapter in the team's long history of losing.
"I've grappled with this over the past few years, as well," Fauria said. "There was a time when I would go on podcasts and radio shows and say that Matt is the best quarterback if you have him in shorts and a T-shirt away from a real game. But that's not the really the case, because Matt is one of the greatest to put it on because of raw talent. But you have certain scenarios, and he can't win the entire game on his own. There needs to be a support system that's doing their job as well."
The Lions have only won one playoff game in the last 60 years, but if they want to get back to the NFL's biggest stage, Fauria thinks Stafford is the quarterback who can get them there.
"I think he can (lead a team to a Super Bowl)," Fauria said. "I think he very well can. It's just, the writing hasn't been on the wall and the dice haven't fallen as they should have for him. I don't know. I think there are so many excuses and variables, but when it comes to it, the boy is good. I've seen him bloody nosed, wind knocked out of him, barely able to say the play and then two plays later he throws a touchdown."
The 30-year-old is off to a rough start in his 10th season as the Lions' quarterback, throwing four interceptions and losing a fumble in the first two games. But over 127 career games, Stafford has completed 62 percent of his pass attempts for more than 35,000 yards and 220 touchdowns.
"That's the type of guy he is," Fauria said. "He is your franchise quarterback. He is the Lions' best shot of winning. It's just, football isn't won by one person."
You can listen to the full "Outta Bounds" interview with Fauria below. WARNING: There is strong and explicit language during the interview.