Over the last couple of years, there have been periodic criticisms of Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford’s mechanics.
Stafford has shrugged off those concerns in the past, but he’ll have to face them this offseason. New coach Jim Caldwell has been watching film of Stafford recently and told Peter King of TheMMQB.com that footwork drills will be a big part of Stafford’s work heading into next season.
“I’ve watched every throw Matthew made last season, because when I came here and met with him, I wanted to have some familiarity with him. We didn’t go through film together, but we talked about I saw, and I listened to him, and it was very beneficial,” Caldwell said. “We have used a set of drills in coaching over the years that I think has added some consistency to all the quarterbacks we’ve coached. The great majority of poor throws — people look at the arm, and that’s important obviously, but I think footwork is the key. I can pull up any gamefilm and show you how our footwork drills help you. In a nutshell, the feet and eyes work together. If I’m throwing in a particular direction, my footwork is pointing in the same direction — directly at the target. We’ll work on it with Matthew, and he will do them flawlessly.”
The Lions were looking for a head coach with an offensive background this offseason with Stafford’s inconsistency standing out as the most obvious place to look for improvement in 2014 and beyond. If Caldwell’s drills can help get Stafford back to the level he was at in 2011 — completing 63.5 percent of his passes and a 40/16 touchdown-to-interception ratio — the Lions’ chances of getting to the playoffs will improve a tremendous amount.
For more from Caldwell’s here’s his extended Friday visit to PFT Live, during which he talks more about Stafford’s mechanics, his leadership, and the challenges presented by the off-field incidents that have plagued the Lions in recent years.