One of only a few knocks against
But Stafford hit on 60.3 percent of his passes a year ago, the second-best rate of his career. And Jim Caldwell believes that will improve this year. His work in offseason practices have provided encouragement.
"He's improved," Caldwell told MLive.com. "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 added that he anticipates Stafford will improve his completion percentage in 2015.
His team drafted offensive linemen Manny Ramirez and Laken Tomlinson in the first round. Just what the doctor ordered - if that doctor is Stafford, who can certainly visualize the difference between the offensive line that will be protecting him in 2015 and the one that did not last season.
The Lions allowed 45 sacks a year ago - only 10 teams surrendered more. It was the highest number of times Stafford wound up on his back during his six-year career.
"Since the week before the draft, to the week after, it was like night and day," Stafford told MLive.com. "We just have so many more bodies, and so many more guys who are capable of playing well."
“In his second year (in the offense) he’s going to be that much more comfortable,” Lombardi said.
“We’ll be able to tailor the offense a little bit more to what he likes and what he’s good at. I thought he played smart football and sometimes to a fault. We’ll look for him to maybe take a few more chances this year with the football.”
Although Stafford didn't take many shots down the field, he did throw a career-low 12 interceptions in 2014.
The former first overall draft pick has thrown for 21,714 yards with 131 touchdowns and 85 interceptions during his six-year career.
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.
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