Improving Matthew Stafford’s footwork will be early Caldwell focus

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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 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.

25 responses to “Improving Matthew Stafford’s footwork will be early Caldwell focus

  1. fin72 says:
    Jan 20, 2014 12:33 PM
    Improving Caldwell’s consciousness should be the Lions’ early focus.
    Marginally humorous, but, a completely idiotic comment if you’ve ever heard the man interviewed.

  2. Easier said than done. Odds of major improvements now are probably pretty low. Even under the laissez faire Schwartz they must have tried to work on that. And it must have been a topic of discussion already back in college.

  3. Just ask Tebow. If he allocated some time away from bicep curls and bench press, he would at least have a chance at playing QB. This will be good for Stafford, dude has a cannon.

  4. Caldwell should just shut his stupid face. Matt Stafford has been playing quarterback for 20 years. Well enough to be the first overall draft pick coming out of college. Well enough to start for five years in the NFL. Well enough to earn more in a year than Jim will earn in his lifetime.

    Anyone who can afford a hundred dollar T.V. set becomes a quarterback guru these days. Give it a rest.

  5. Stafford’s footwork has been THE main problem over the past couple of years. He’s constantly throwing off balance or off his back foot. I attribute that to his serious injury history in the first couple of years. Most of the time, Stafford is trying to avoid getting hit.

    It is not that he doesn’t know how to do it. Indeed, in the Lions 2012 victory over Seattle, Stafford’s fundamentals throughout the game were virtually perfect.

    The problem is that Schwartz and Linehan were too lax with correcting fundamental problems and Stafford fell back into bad habits after a couple of games.

  6. Never in my life has a new Lions head coach come under such scrutiny before one single workout, let alone game.

    It will be so sweet if this man can deliver to us what others have failed to.

    I was indifferent when the announcement was made but the more he talks and the more haters hate I am actually rooting for him to succeed.

  7. Lots of similarities between Stafford and Jay Cutler. Guys with major arm talent who have underperformed due to bad fundamentals and lack of discipline. The difference being Stafford still has some time to straighten out, whereas Cutler’s window is almost closed.

  8. Proper footwork and balance is difficult when you have the largest size cranium and moobs of any NFL QB.

  9. Caldwell’s main problem will be getting his players to not quit on him like they quit on Shwartz, if he can do that then the Lions will win consistently.

  10. Stafford will continue to improve because he will get direction and has impeccable work ethic. The new Lions HC should be more concerned about drafting some lineman that are good enough to play and re-sign when there contracts are up. Pass protection plays a big role in how fundamentally sound a qb can preform.

  11. I’m not a hater, I’ve been cheering for this godforsaken franchise for about 25 years… But come on people, enough talking yourselves into this clown. His footwork drills transformed Joe Flacco from a Super Bowl MVP into Mark Sanchez with worse eyebrows. And yes, I’m sure he’s quite bright and capable…like that timeout against the Jets in the playoffs? Totally screamed competence.

    Remember when the Chiefs hired Romeo Crennel because he upset the undefeated Packers during a garbage season, and everyone knew he was going to fail miserably? This is like that, except worse, because Caldwell hasn’t done a thing to make anyone expect anything but abject failure.

  12. Was against the Caldwell hire but the more I listen to him the more I’m inclined to give him a chance. Bill Belichick, John Fox and Pete Carroll failed as bad or worse at their first coaching gigs and look at them now. Caldwell obviously has an articulate brain and a thought out plan, which is more than can be said for many HC’s.

    As for his ‘failure’ with Flacco, well, silk purse/sow’s ear comes to mind for lucky Jump Ball Joe.

  13. Good luck with that.

    Stafford has already said publicly there is nothing about his play that needs improving, so how much hope can you have that he will listen to anyone about his play beyond someone telling him how fantastic he is?

  14. Caldwell might also teach fat boy how to push himself away from the buffet before having five servings. Stafford is going to be as big as a football stadium in a few years.

  15. I think Caldwell should talk to Stafford about his sexuality. I think having Kris Durham around all the time again has gotten into Stafford’s head. Stafford needs to come out of the closet so that he can concentrate on the game and not worry about “getting caught”.

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