He admitted after Friday night’s 13-12, victory over Jacksonville that he got away from that mentality a bit.
“I felt like the first pass we had the second play of the game could have taken CJ (
“Just keep us ahead of the chains. That defense was dropping deep. I’m not sure we threw more than 20 yards downfield tonight. They were making us take the underneath stuff and once we started doing that, staying ahead of the chains, we had some good drives going.”
Stafford started the game 2-of-5 passing, including an interception to defensive end Andre Branch, who made a terrific play dropping into coverage some 20 yards down the field. Stafford said after the game he didn’t see Branch until he let the ball go. He simply tipped his cap to Branch on that one.
Following the interception, Stafford rolled off nine consecutive competitions, mostly on passes underneath, reminding himself between series to be patient and take what the defense was giving him.
It’s part of maturing for Stafford. He has such a live arm and a lot of weapons who can make plays down the field, but he now has more players who can turn small passes into big gains and he has to trust they can do that for him.
He was leapfrogged by veteran
He took a step forward in that pursuit Friday night with his best performance of the preseason.
His play won’t necessarily show up on the stat sheet (1 assisted tackle), but he set up a couple tackles for loss by teammates with his penetration.
“Down in the trenches it’s kind of difficult to see and give you a determination tonight, but it appeared that he did a pretty good job in there,” Caldwell said after the game.
EDGE FOR FREESE
Caldwell has said all along this competition is a marathon, not a sprint, but missing a 51-yarder indoors didn’t look so good after Freese hit one from 55 yards outdoors from the dirt of O.Co Stadium in Oakland last week.
The edge might be tipping in Freese’s favor.
“It’s one of those things we’ve been constantly evaluating, this is not the first opportunity to evaluate,” Caldwell said after the game.
“We’ve been doing that all along. It’s been a close race but we’ll see how that goes.”
The Lions are dealing with a few more injuries after Friday night. Fullback