Stafford passed for 4,257 yards and attempted 602 passes in 2014 -- his first year under coach Jim Caldwell. While at the NFL owners' meetings in Phoenix this week, Caldwell said it's probably safe not to expect Stafford's numbers to change much in 2015.
"Here's the thing I want to make certain you guys understand, and see what I see just in terms of my vision," Caldwell said, per MLive.com. "When I tell you we're not going to throw the ball anymore than we threw it, that's a fact. We're probably not going to throw it (more).
"If we do throw it more, that means we're struggling, we're not winning, we're not a very good football team. OK? Plain and simple. Maybe that ball's got to be distributed a little bit differently, but I don't anticipate those numbers changing, overall, a significant amount."
"I think he's just got to keep improving," Caldwell said Wednesday during NFL annual meetings. "I was walking down a hall yesterday, and someone said something about, 'Well, hey, don't you really need your quarterback to really take off?' And I looked at him and said, 'No, we don't need him to really take off. He's been doing well.'
"He's improving steadily. Things in this league don't happen that way. No one makes a meteoric jump. It's gradual. It's too competitive. There are too many good players and it's a tough league, and I do think he's making really good progress."
Stafford, a former first round selection of the Lions, is entering his sixth season in the NFL. He has started all 16 games for four consecutive years. The 27-year-old has thrown for 21,714 yards with 131 touchdowns and 85 interceptions.
"I can't quantify how much better (the offense is) going to get, but I do think the second year in the offense is going to be great, going to be big for the quarterback," Mayhew said. "Some of the routes and the way that we run them were totally different for Matthew. He hadn't thrown those routes in college or when Scott Linehan was our offensive coordinator, so some of that was a learning process for him. He had a bunch of new receivers out there, guys he hadn't really worked with that much. I think second year in the offense is going to be huge for him, individually."
Stafford threw for 4,257 yards and 22 touchdowns in 2014. It was his fourth consecutive season over 4,000 passing yards and fourth straight with at least 20 passing touchdowns.
Stafford put his team out to a quick lead, connecting with Golden Tate on a 51-yard touchdown less than five minutes into the game. He then drove the team down for another touchdown later in the quarter to give the Lions a big lead. Stafford's interception came on a batted ball on the first play of the second half, but it didn't cost the Lions after Dan Bailey missed a 41-yard field goal on the ensuing drive. However, the Lions offense mustered just a field goal through the entire second half and watched the Cowboys score 17 unanswered points to take the win.
The game was not without controversey, as a fourth-quarter flag against the Cowboys for pass interference on a pass from Stafford to Brandon Pettigrew was picked up after the penalty was announced, with no explanation given as to why the call was waved off. The noncall came on third-and-1 near midfield, and the ensuing shanked punt set the Cowboys up with great field position on what would turn out to be the go-ahead touchdown drive. Stafford acknowledged to media after the game that he believed the pass-inference call should have stood.
Stafford and wide receiver Calvin Johnson hooked up for two of his touchdowns, one for 20 yards and the other for four.
Stafford finished off his day finding running back Theo Riddick for a dump off touchdown pass at the end of the fourth quarter.
Stafford finishes the regular season 4,257 yards and 22 touchdowns. It is his fourth consecutive season over 4,000 passing yards and fourth straight with at least 20 passing touchdowns.
Stafford and the Lions will head to Dallas to take on the Cowboys in the wild card round of the NFC playoffs.
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