Jim Caldwell emphasized ball security. Don’t turn the ball over and give yourself a chance to win games. Which is certainly true. The less you turn the ball over the better it usually bodes for your chances to win. Under Caldwell, Stafford became a safe, ball-control quarterback. Short passes are safer because long passes afford more recovery time.
Matthew became consumed with ‘safe’ passes. Whatever it took to win.
And the Lions did post some success under Jim Caldwell as they had a winning record and made the playoffs two out of his four seasons at the helm. Unfortunately, they were unable to win in the playoffs.
Now Matthew is being given his freedom to be a gunslinger again. The opportunity to launch the ball and try to make a play. Like last Sunday, that means he will turn the ball over at times. That’s the nature of the gunslinger. They throw without fear making plays and sometimes turning it over in the quest for making a play.
In the case of Matthew Stafford, his best seasons were when he was a gunslinger. Sure he needs to make good choices every time he cocks his arm to throw, but while I am certainly against turning the ball over, the biggest concern is when it gets turned over.
The Chargers fumbled one yard away from a touchdown against Detroit last Sunday. Matthew gave one back by throwing an interception in the endzone. But in the fourth quarter, when it counts the most in a tight ball game, Matthew did throw the game-winning touchdown but didn’t turn the ball over. Chargers quarterback Phillip Rivers did.
What does all this mean? It means that the Lions offense, when it finally finds itself, has an opportunity to be explosive. By land and by air.
When the kinks are all worked out, they will have every opportunity to put points on the scoreboard. And Matthew Stafford, who seems to be more vocal and fiery this season, will be given the green light to be a gunslinger, which in all honesty is probably what he’s the most comfortable with.
Does that mean the playoffs are assured? Not in the NFL. The Lions still have questions that need to be answered, but Matthew Stafford isn’t one of them right now. He is bouncing back with a vengeance from last season and given some freedom in the open skies, big plays in the passing game should also be back and hopefully plenty of wins as well.