LIONS INSIDER

Stafford's film study sessions a little different without Megatron

Posted May 30, 2016

Life after Megatron's retirement has definitely been different for quarterback Matthew Stafford, especially when it comes to film study.

Watching a ton of film is sort of a prerequisite to playing the quarterback position in the NFL.

It’s no different for Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, but he learned early on in his career that he had to watch film a little differently than most quarterbacks in the NFL because he played with Calvin Johnson.

“There were only a handful of teams I would really watch tape on last year,” Stafford told WJR before the Taste of the Lions event earlier this month. “It was the Falcons with Julio Jones or the Cowboys with Dez Bryant. I wanted to watch defenses and see how they played against premier, top-flight receivers because we obviously had one.

“Teams were scared of Calvin or those type guys, so they make adjustments that you really don’t see in games when they play guys and teams that don’t have that guy.”

With Johnson now retired, Stafford is expecting to be able to study film and prepare for opponents in a more routine fashion week to week.

“It will definitely be different,” he said. “With him being gone now, I’m sure the looks will be a little more standard.”

Stafford has talked on multiple occasions about the atypical looks teams would give him because of the shifted coverage over to Johnson. Defenses in this league can get pretty creative when trying to slow down superstar players, and it wouldn’t be uncommon for Stafford and the offense to take a series or two with photo study in between to adjust to what the defense was showing them.

Stafford would certainly trade having Calvin Johnson back vs. seeing less than standard looks, but he should still benefit from a preparation standpoint.

“Some things are going to look differently to us because of the fact that there was always the Calvin factor, just in terms of what kind of coverage he was going to get,” head coach Jim Caldwell told WJR.

Double coverage was usually on the docket, and Stafford had to identify the third defender that was paying attention to Megatron as well.

“There were some coverages that you almost can’t recognize,” Caldwell said. “They’re not your standard looks that you get and oftentimes we couldn’t necessarily make a determination on exactly which one we were going to get of those creative coverages.

“(Stafford) had to deal with some crazy situations. Now, he’s probably going to see a little more balanced look until one of those other guys (i.e. Golden Tate, Marvin Jones) get really hot and then you might see some stuff.”