Lions: Matthew Stafford Showing Improvement in Mini-Camp


The Detroit Lions offense was supposed to take a step toward becoming a prolific offense in the mold of the New Orleans Saints last season but it never really came together. Perhaps that was to be expected considering Joe Lombardi was in his first year as an offensive coordinator after previously serving as the Saints’ quarterbacks coach.

There was surely a “getting to know you” phase for players and coaches alike, but that should be over with and big steps forward will need to be evident.

More from Detroit Lions

That starts with quarterback Matthew Stafford. There is still a long way to go before any improvement will need to be proven on the field, but there is progress. Jim Caldwell noted as much, for both Stafford and the offense overall, in his comments to the media following Wednesday’s mini-camp practice.

"He’s improved, he has a better feel for the system. You can see our timing’s better, receivers have a better sense of the routes that they’re running. All around I think we’ve made some improvement."

Caldwell didn’t get into quantifying Stafford’s accuracy in practice nor what kind of accuracy benchmark is expected, but he did note an improvement over last year.

Veteran backup quarterback Dan Orlovsky has seen a big difference in the way Stafford is relaying play calls and executing the plays on the field. Orlovsky recounted one such example via MLive’s Kyle Meike:

"He cited that day in the film room last week, when he saw a cut-up of starting quarterback Matthew Stafford bark out a wordy, complicated call.The play call would have been a difficult one last season. Required lots of thought to process. And now?Stafford got the call out “that quick,” Orlovsky said, snapping his fingers. Then Stafford proceeded to shift through his reads effortlessly, and spun a perfect pass to Calvin Johnson — his third option — in stride.“He never would have been able to do that last year — not even in December, to be honest with you,” Orlovsky said. “As an offense, the guy pulling the trigger wouldn’t have been comfortable enough to have seen it.”"

Stafford’s better command of the offense bodes well for being able to open up the playbook more in 2015. The Lions took better care of the ball last season than they did in their collapse in 2014, but that came in part to limiting the chances they took down the field. Taking more shots is a stated goal, one that will only become realistic with quarterback and receivers showing growth from year one to two.

Next: Ebron has good first day of mini-camp

More from Detroit Jock City

Quotes provided by the Detroit Lions unless otherwise noted