The development of Matthew Stafford has been priority number one for the Detroit Lions this off-season. General Manager Martin Mayhew made that very clear when he hired three quarterback gurus in Jim Caldwell, Joe Lombardi, and Jim Bob Cooter to ensure Stafford capitalizes on his potential.
After initially starting slow in OTAs, it appears Stafford is back on track to be much improved in 2014 according to Jim Caldwell:
“I was impressed when he came back that, first of all, he did not miss a beat,” Caldwell said. “You can tell he’s worked at it, even during the summer. I understand they were getting together and throwing, working his arm, working on his timing and technique, all those types of things.
“And in every facet, when he came back, I could see improvement — footwork, accuracy, timing, command of the offense, all of those things,” Caldwell continued. “So now we get a chance to see if he can put it all together a little bit more, add a few more things, keep progressing and then get some real challenges from our opposition as we start preseason.”
Stafford’s work ethic has never been questioned, but how much he has actually been coached up has been. With a new coach, offensive coordinator, and quarterback coach that has worked extensively with Peyton Manning and Drew Brees, many feel Stafford has all the tools around him to make a big jump this season.
Dominic Raiola reiterated that sentiment saying:
“(Caldwell) has been around Peyton Manning, so I think Matthew knows what his expectations are,” teammate Dominic Raiola said. “When Caldwell does call you out, Jim will call him out, he’s no different from anyone else. Joe Lombardi will call him out.
“That’s a good thing, that’s accountability,” Raiola continued. “We are creating more accountability. [Stafford] is the franchise. He knows what he has to do, and he knows what he has to do better. He knows that he has to do it for us to be successful. I think he’s got that and I’m excited to see him.”
Mayhew did an excellent job hiring coaches this offseason with a pedigree for making good quarterbacks great. In addition to the coaching hires, Mayhew also surrounded Stafford with two more dynamic pass catchers in Golden Tate and Eric Ebron.
In other words, there’s no reason to think that Matthew Stafford won’t be much improved in 2014.