Matthew Stafford QB DET 1 Month4 Comments

Matthew Stafford is expected to have more freedom to change plays pre-snap under new OC Joe Lombardi.

Stafford had some freedom under former OC Scott Linehan, but Lombardi comes from a New Orleans system in which Drew Brees is allowed improvise freely at the line. Brees has earned that right through his play, and new coach Jim Caldwell cautioned Stafford will earn more pre-snap responsibilities the longer he spends in the offense. More freedom at the line could bring with it more efficiency for Stafford, who has completed more than 60% of his passes only once in his five-year career, and should allow Stafford to put Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate in better positions to make plays. Stafford is a clear-cut QB1 with top-3 upside.

Matthew Stafford QB DET 2 Months4 Comments

Lions OC Joe Lombardi said is happy with Matthew Stafford's mechanics progress.

Matthew Stafford QB DET 2 Months

Reggie Bush said the Lions' new offensive scheme is "exactly the same" as the one he learned while with the Saints.

First-year offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi spent the last seven years as an offensive assistant for the Saints. During that time, New Orleans' offense ranked first, second, first, sixth, first, first and fourth. In Detroit, Lombardi and Matthew Stafford will have even better weapons in Calvin Johnson, Golden Tate, Eric Ebron, Reggie Bush and Joique Bell. They're installing the up-tempo philosophy that is the trademark of the game's truly elite offenses. Stafford is a clear-cut top-five fantasy quarterback as he executes the Drew Brees role.

Matthew Stafford QB DET 4 Months1 Comment

New Lions coach Jim Caldwell is adamant that he can fix Matthew Stafford's mechanics.

Specifically, Caldwell wants Stafford to improve his throwing habits in practice. "Every single time you throw, you throw at a target," Caldwell said. "You work on your accuracy just constantly and you look at small targets. That's what gets you accustomed to being able to pinpoint your accuracy." Stafford has had a cavalier attitude about his cavalier throws, but it's not going to fly with Caldwell. Stafford's 58.5 completion percentage last season was his lowest since his rookie year.

Matthew Stafford QB DET 6 Months

Lions hired Jim Bob Cooter as quarterbacks coach.

Matthew Stafford said he didn't want or need a tutor to work on his mechanics. He now has three coaches with strong backgrounds in coaching up quarterbacks. Head coach Jim Caldwell helped develop Peyton Manning in Indy, offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi was Drew Brees' position coach in New Orleans and Cooter spent last year with Manning in Denver. We're fully expecting Stafford's completion percentage to rise and his interceptions to drop under the new regime.

Matthew Stafford QB DET 6 Months

New Lions OC Joe Lombardi hinted that he sees Matthew Stafford's footwork as a correctable problem.

It's a bit of a touchy subject in Detroit because of Stafford's past opposition to changing his mechanics, but good news that Lombardi has identified this as an issue. "Matthew has got such a talented arm that I think there are times when he is making throws that you say, 'Hey, maybe you shouldn't have thrown that because of the position of your feet' or whatnot," said Lombardi. Lombardi worked with technically sound Drew Brees for the last seven years. He's going to prioritize improving Stafford's mechanics.

Matthew Stafford QB DET 6 Months

New OC Joe Lombardi was hired "chiefly" because the Lions believe he can help rejuvenate Matthew Stafford.

Lombardi has been working with Drew Brees/Sean Payton since 2007, first as a Saints offensive assistant and then as their quarterbacks coach. "I feel like we were right on the cutting edge of creativity with what we were able to do with personnel and that kind of thing (in New Orleans)," Brees said. "I see some similarities, obviously, to what Detroit has with their offensive personnel. I'm sure [Lombardi] is going to be very creative with those guys. It's just his talent." Stafford will also be getting tutelage from new head coach Jim Caldwell, who spent a decade coaching Peyton Manning. Stafford's mechanics and efficiency are excellent bets to improve in 2014.

Matthew Stafford QB DET 6 Months

Lions GM Martin Mayhew admitted that "there certainly has to be some work done" with Matthew Stafford.

Stafford's completion percentage has dipped three consecutive seasons, falling from 63.5 percent in 2011 to 59.8 in 2012 to 58.5 this past season. He also turned the ball over a career-worst 23 times in 2013, while his footwork remains shoddy. The Lions have brought in some quality men to work with Stafford. New coach Jim Caldwell has a history with quarterbacks, and new OC Joe Lombardi spent the past seven seasons with Drew Brees. We remain high on Stafford for 2014.

Matthew Stafford QB DET 6 Months

New coach Jim Caldwell plans to focus on improving Matthew Stafford's footwork.

Matthew Stafford QB DET 7 Months5 Comments

Asked Friday whether he would consider working with a quarterback guru during the offseason, Matthew Stafford replied "It's not my thing."

The Lions' coaching staff under Jim Schwartz and Scott Linehan has consistently let Stafford wing it in terms of fundamentals, which has resulted in wild ups and downs. "It's not something that I feel would be my style or beneficial to me," said Stafford. "I have not (considered a QB tutor)." There are problems outside of mechanics that have led to Stafford's inconsistency, but it was clearly a major issue for the second straight year in 2013, particularly down the stretch. The Lions' next coaching staff needs to make polishing up Stafford a primary priority for the offseason.