Photo by: Dona Keast and Kent Lee Platte
Overall Stock Up!
I have been cautious to report much on how Stafford has performed in training camp. The truth is that he has looked very, very good. I’m cautious to say much about it because he looked very good in 2013 as well, but there are a few differences that make it noteworthy in a positive way.
Stafford has always been known for a rifle of an arm, and that’s still evident. Most of his passes arrive in half the time his crew of backups can get it there and some of the passes he makes in traffic would be impossible for most NFL quarterbacks. A concern of Stafford has always been his ability to provide touch to his passes, particularly downfield. Stafford had an inordinate amount of passes batted at the line and several of his wide receiver drops (though not most) can actually be credited to him simply throwing it far harder than was expected.
While his touch is not perfect, it’s been drastically improved this year over last. Part of it simply has to do with the coaches ASKING him to provide more touch. He still puts too much power behind the ball, forcing a lower arc than would be ideal, but it’s a lot better than constantly rocketing every pass to receivers. Sidearm passes are rare in camp, but Offensive Coordinator Joe Lombardi has pulled Stafford off to the side each time I saw one and talked to him directly, on at least one occasion it was definitely a negative discussion. Stafford has been reacting to the added coaching quite well. As an added bonus, Lions fans can get used to “Omaha”, a word I heard about three hundred thousand times in camp from Stafford.