I was very interested in getting a look at Matthew Stafford’s technique after last season’s series of articles breaking him down. I was worried about how consistent his accuracy would be with several major flaws in his technique, and most of my concerns were well founded. Stafford struggled with his accuracy, especially in obvious passing situations where he faced pressure, as he threw 20 interceptions in 10 games and completed 53.3% of his passes.
The main issues Stafford faced were problems with footwork and losing patience in the pocket. His footwork was sloppy as he wouldn’t always set his feet before throwing or turn his body to face the receiver. He frequently had a frenetic pace in the pocket, rushing his throws or throwing with poor technique even though he had time in the pocket. He also relied far too much on his arm strength when making throws muscling the ball with his arm while his body wasn’t balanced. Those issues led to inaccurate passes that would wind up incomplete, tipped or intercepted.
After 11 passes in the first preseason game I am comfortable saying he has made progress in correcting those issues. Stafford was very patient in the pocket and his footwork was vastly improved. He threw from a balanced stance and faced his receiver and followed through on his throws. He applied touch to the throws when needed and heated a fastball in when he had to squeeze a throw in.
Now before getting too excited, remember that he was facing pretty vanilla defensive play calls and didn’t see a lot of pressure in the pocket. Was the lack of pressure from the vanilla defense or improved offensive line play? Tough to discern, but one thing that wasn’t tough to determine was Stafford took advantage of the offseason program to take several steps in the right direction technique-wise.