NEWS

Stafford: 'I feel good throwing the ball'

Posted Oct 20, 2010

The Detroit Lions are in the midst of their Bye Week, which gives players time to rest their bodies, re-evaluate their performance and work on areas that need to be improved.

For quarterback Matthew Stafford, the Bye is serving as an opportune time to get back on the field after missing the last five games with an injured right (throwing) shoulder.

“It was good work for him. He did a lot of different things,” said Head Coach Jim Schwartz. “He threw some 7-on-7. He faced, I don’t want to say a live pass rush, but he faced guys rushing him. He had to move in the pocket and things like that.

“I think the whole thing is that he has to adjust to coverage; he’s not just throwing routes on air. He’s doing things where he has to move in the pocket, he has to escape. His timing has to be good for getting rid of the ball. I think it was a big step.”

While Stafford hasn’t been in a live-game situation since the second quarter of the season opener at Chicago, it could be assumed that he would need more than one practice to get back into the groove of things.

Stafford has been able to throw the ball around for the past couple of weeks, but today he was able to participate in practice and felt “pretty normal.”

“I feel pretty good, yeah. I feel pretty close,” said Stafford. “I don’t know if it’s 100- or 98- or 99-percent, but its right up there. I feel good.

“A lot of the guys are a little bit dinged up and are resting, so I didn’t have Calvin (Johnson) and some of those guys out there doing a whole lot. The guys I threw to I don’t really throw to a lot but we did well.”

From an outside view, Stafford’s arm strength might have been an area of concern, but this particular injury hasn’t hindered his overall throwing ability.

“The injury he had shouldn’t affect his arm strength,” said Schwartz.  “It’s more about being comfortable with all the different throws and the body angles that you’re going to get. You can only get that from reacting to a defense. You can’t get that trying to simulate, throwing routes on air, and throwing individual routes.

“Even throwing 7-on-7, you need to move around a little bit. Taking snaps, extending his arm, handing the ball off, all those things are important. It will be evaluated from what he’s able to do at practice, but I would anticipate he’d be able to do everything that we need a quarterback to do.”

Stafford says that the idea of not being able to throw as well as he had previous to his injury never crossed his mind.

“I wasn’t really questioning it coming out,” he said. “I knew that once I got healthy that I was going to have the same arm that I’ve always had. I was just making sure that I was feeling pain free and that’s how it felt today.”

Being able to get back onto the field also brings up the question of whether or not he will start against the Washington Redskins following the Bye.

While coach Schwartz doesn’t like to put a timetable on anything, the hope is that Stafford will be ready to start in the next game.

“He’s up to speed. He’s never lost any of that. It’s more just physically going through and doing it,” said Schwartz. “I think we’ve had a good progression. He’s been throwing for a little bit more than a couple weeks now in some fashion.

“He threw last Friday in practice. We got some good work today. We’ll get some tomorrow. We’ll get some Friday. We’ll get back to work on Tuesday and then we’ll go through a normal week. He’ll get a lot of work between now and then.”