Stafford: 'Nobody puts more pressure on me than I do'

Posted Apr 10, 2014

A lot of the changes the Detroit Lions have made this offseason, on the surface, looked like they were made with Matthew Stafford in mind.

A lot of the changes the Detroit Lions have made this offseason, on the surface, looked like they were made with Matthew Stafford in mind.

The team hired an offensive-minded coach in Jim Caldwell, who has an extensive background working with quarterbacks, including Peyton Mannning, when Manning made his biggest leap in development in year's five and six of his career.

The team hired an innovative offensive coordinator in Joe Lombardi, who's been Drew Brees' quarterback coach the last four years.

Matthew StaffordQB Matthew Stafford (Gavin Smith)

Detroit's biggest free agent signing this offseason was Golden Tate, who gives Stafford another weapon on the outside.

All moves that should make Stafford a better quarterback. But Stafford, speaking to the media for the first time on Thursday since these moves have been made, says everything that's transpired this offseason isn't just about him, but rather the "team" mentality.

"I think it was more about us trying to be the best team we can be, more than anything," Stafford said. "In this league, you win games, your quarterback's going to get a lot of credit. You lose games, you're going to get a lot of blame.

"Sometimes it's right-on, sometimes it's not. It's something you've got to learn to take with a grain of salt and just try to improve, but this is a team game. We understand that as a team, as a coaching staff and as a locker room and we all continually just need to try to get better and get as good as we can possibly be."

NFL rules don't allow a whole lot of interaction between coaches and players during Phase I of the offseason program, which started for the Lions on Monday. Coaches can't be on the field with players, but can begin to install the offense and defense in meeting rooms.

Stafford said he's already been impressed with the new staff, especially Caldwell, who addressed the team Monday.

"He's a confident guy," Stafford said of his new head coach. "He knows what he wants to do, what he wants this team to look like and he has a clear set of ideas and goals for us as a team.

"I think everybody's getting to know each other through the process. Obviously, this time of year is kind of that process with a new coaching staff. We're looking forward to working with him. He's a bright, intelligent guy; (he) obviously has a great track record with offense and with teams. We're excited to have him."

More than anything, Stafford can't wait to start "picking the brains" of Caldwell, Lombardi and some of the other coaches in an attempt to improve his game.

"It's exciting," he said of the opportunity to work with Caldwell and Lombardi. "These guys, like I said, have great track records. They've worked with some really great players at the quarterback position, specifically. I'll be picking their brains as much as they'll allow."

Entering his sixth NFL season, Stafford knows the drill by now. The team plays well and the quarterback gets the credit. If the team falters, like it did the second half last year, he gets the blame.

He's well aware he has to play better if the Lions are going to be more consistent and get to where they want to go.

"In the NFL, if your quarterback plays really well, your team plays pretty well, and I understand that," he said. "We're no different than any team, so the better I play, the better we're going to play as a team. Common theory says that.

"Nobody puts more pressure on me than I do. I want to be as good as I can possibly be and not for myself, but to help this team win. That's the number one goal."