How Stafford’s Cali trip could help him

Updated: August 13, 2017

7:00 AM ET

ALLEN PARK, Mich. — Matthew Stafford went to California and for the first time let someone other than his father or one of the coaches tinker with his game. He downplayed what Tom House and Adam Dedeaux did with him at 3DQB in California, but the objective was obvious.

He wanted to home in on small things in order to become a better quarterback, a process he called “all-encompassing” with what he does on the field and away from it. And he believes it helped.

“It is the first time for me, ever, since John Stafford taught me how to throw a football,” Stafford said last month. “But yeah, when you’re preparing, competing really against yourself to be as good as you can possibly be, why not give it everything you’ve got?

“Find different people with different ideas, maybe, that can help you out. Just thought it was an opportunity and went for it and enjoyed it.”

Some of what Stafford worked on in California came from a list he and Lions quarterbacks coach Brian Callahan devised when they met at the start of spring workouts. Each man came in with a list of things he noticed needed improvement last season.

“That’s the difference in this league between winning and losing is three or four passes a game. If we can maybe, and we ended up hitting a handful of them last year, there’s no doubt,” Callahan said. “But there’s also a lot of throws I think, if you go back and watch, when we went back and watched them all, we agreed, ‘Man, this could have been a big one. This could have added this many more yards to this drive’ or whatever it may be.

“There’s a million examples that I think he really, he kind of took it all to heart and made the conscious decision he was going to do everything he could to get better as a whole quarterback, from command to where his feet are placed. I think that commitment is really going to pay off for him.”

Callahan said he has seen a difference in practice. In his second year in the offense, Stafford appears — in practice, anyway — more comfortable with all of it.

Stafford seems ready to lead the Lions to the playoffs for the third time in four seasons and, potentially, win a playoff game for the first time. That’s part of why he went to California. The goal is pretty simple.

“I think he’s a top quarterback in this league,” Callahan said. “And for a top quarterback in this league, there are throws that are hard for a lot of people, but those type of guys make them.

“Kind of the challenge is be one step better than you were a year ago.”

Article source: