Over at mlive.com, Tom Kowalski posted a couple of articles over the past couple of days that referenced Mathew Stafford’s performance and first impressions so far in Training camp. I figured I would point out some highlights…
During Monday’s session, the Lions ran some two-minute drills, here is what Kowalski had to report about Stafford’s performance…
“The Detroit Lions ended their afternoon practice with three two-minute drills and rookie first-round pick Matthew Stafford quarterbacked the No. 1 offense against the No. 1 defense. The situation was this: The ball was on the opposing 38-yard line with 1:30 left (no timeouts) and they had to get into short field goal range.
Stafford made quick work of the drill, running just four plays.He fired two bullets to Dennis Northcutt for a total of 32 yards and, after an eight-yard run by Kevin Smith, he allowed the clock to wind down to the final two seconds. Stafford then spiked the ball with the Lions at the 22-yard line and within field goal range.”
Culpepper lead the second team offense against the second team defense, protection broke down and caused some miscues, the offense only made it to the 40 yard line. Some fans have been commenting that this is a knock on Culpepper and an endorsement for Stafford as the starter. While I feel Stafford’s performance was respectable and shows he can be a leader, make good and quick decisions, and has great poise for a rookie, To me you can only fairly compare the two in similar situations, with similar play calls on both sides of the ball and with both leading the number ones.
Culpepper’s performance is most likely more a reflection of the men around him rather than his personal performance. If we had more detail on the specifics to the failure of the drive than maybe inadequacies in his game would have been revealed but such specifics were not reported. Having him QB the 2’s is more about helping and training the guys on those squads then evaluating the QB and to me is not a fair comparison. To check out the full article click here.
Kowalski also posted an article Tuesday that shared some comments new Offensive Coordinator, Scott Linehan made about Stafford. Here are some of the insightful things he had to say…
“I don’t feel like I’m coaching or talking to a rookie when we work with him,” Linehan said Tuesday about Matthew Stafford, the Lions’ first-round draft pick. “That’s not just talking and saying ‘That’s how it is because he’s a No. 1 pick.’ He has a very natural feel for the game and understands concepts, he can translate things he’s done before to what he’s doing now without a lot of repetition. He can go right to it and make that decision. He’s pretty impressive that way.”
After the question “Did Stafford have to unlearn anything that was taught to him in college (at the University of Georgia)?”, we were given an even more intriguing set of statements and they detailed how Stafford’s time did not only hurt his transition to the pros but actually helped prepare him…
“He was very well coached and very well prepared,” Linehan said. “Actually, we’d go the other way with that question and say what he did in college and high school has prepared him for being in the position he is now. There are a lot of guys who come in and you say ‘He only operated in the shotgun’ or ‘He ran a spread offense.’ This guy ran a pro-style system and shot the ball down the field and attacked all parts of the field with the passing game – and did a great job running the run game. I’d go in a different direction with that question.”
You can check out the full article by clicking here.
It is clear that Stafford is gaining more confidence from his coordinator and most likely his coach and himself. Does it mean that he will be ready to lead the Lions out of the cage on week one? Does it mean he will make strides faster than most would expect or we fans could hope for?
Hopefully in the coming days we will be given clearer evidence but, I really believe we are seeing why this kid was made the number one pick and why he will be king of the pride sooner rather than later!
Go Lions! Restore The Roar!