It certainty wasn’t the best night for Matthew Stafford. He finished the third preseason game against Jacksonville with pretty pedestrian numbers–completing 62.5 percent of his passes for 98 yards with no touchdowns and an interception. After going back and watching the tape, Stafford wasn’t quite as bad as those stats would suggest, but he definitely still has room for improvement.
Play #1: Matthew Stafford Incompletion to Golden Tate
On the sixth play of the opening drive, Matthew Stafford looks to hit Golden Tate on 2nd and 20. It actually a good read from Stafford, but a miscommunication causes the play to result in an incompletion (and almost interception).
Matthew Stafford is clearly expecting Golden Tate to continue his route to the sideline. The problem is that Tate cuts his route off to sit in the zone, allowing the safety to come up and almost make the interception. I can’t blame Stafford for this play. It’s just a simple miscommunication. These are the types of things that are bound to happen as Stafford still learns the offense and his receivers.
Play #2: Matthew Stafford Misreads the Coverage
This play is all on Stafford. He never sees the defender dropping into the zone.
Here he falls into his old ways of only having eyes for Megatron. The throwing lane looks wide open, but as you can see Andre Branch drops into coverage perfectly. To add insult to injury, if Stafford would have gone through his progressions he’d have seen two other options opening up.
Golden Tate had a possibility for a massive gain on this play. At this point in the play he’d already beaten the cornerback for inside leverage, and the entire defense is flowing toward Calvin Johnson, leaving a massive whole in the middle of the field.
The other opening would have been the check down to Joique Bell. It may not have been a huge gain, but it would have kept the Lions drive alive.
Hopefully this was a learning experience for Stafford. Calvin Johnson is always going to dictate the coverage. It’s up to Stafford and the other receivers to make defenses pay for double covering Johnson.