The simple truth is that the Lions will go as far as Stafford can take them in 2012. Entering his fourth season in Scott Linehan's offense, Stafford has taken ownership of this offense and the Lions have hit the ground running offensively this offseason because of it.
"As you become a veteran in any system as a quarterback you have to take ownership of the offense," Linehan said. "This is natural for Matt to do it.
"He knows when it's time for him to step in and say, 'Coach, look at this play and do that.' He knows we are very receptive to that and we have that kind of relationship and we trust each other."
Stafford became only the fourth quarterback in NFL history to throw for 5,000 yards in a season last year and set team records for attempts (663), completions (421), yards (5,038) and touchdowns (41).
"Being able to go out there Day 1 checking off plays and changing routes and all that stuff makes it fun," Stafford said this offseason of where the offense was. "You can always be in a position to beat the defense and you have to go out there and see if you can do it, but its nice knowing that everyone is on the same page."
The Lions are solid in the top two of their depth chart at quarterback. Backup quarterback
After Stafford and Hill is where it gets interesting come training camp.
|Name||Ht/Wt.||Age||Comp, Att||Yds||TDs||Int||Comp %|
#Arena league stats
By the numbers:
666: Number of passes thrown by Lions quarterbacks in the regular season last year, the most in the NFL.
3: 20+ point comebacks for Stafford in his brief career (Cowboys 2011; Vikings 2011, Browns 2009).
41: Touchdowns thrown by Stafford last season, the seventh most in a single season in NFL history.
Camp competition: Moore and Archer will be battling each other for the third quarterback spot left vacant by the loss of Drew Stanton in free agency.
The Lions pursued Moore right after he went undrafted in April and signed him to a deal shortly after the draft. Moore doesn't have a great physical presence on the field, but he's shown he can move the offense and will have a chance to make the team in the preseason.
Archer is a more prototypical passer with good size and arm strength. Archer was brought in during the rookie minicamp in May and he impressed the Lions enough that they signed him to a contract in June to compete with Moore.
Moore and Archer are competing with each other in camp, but there's no guarantee the winner will earn a roster spot. It's certainly possible the Lions could only keep two quarterbacks heading into the season because of roster needs at other positions. Stafford is coming off a season in which he started every game. Stanton didn't dress for one as the third quarterback last year. Can the Lions afford to keep a roster spot open and cut a good player, who could contribute somewhere else, for a player they hope never plays? We'll see how the top 53 shakes out.
Player to watch: Stafford has become must-watch TV. Coming off one of the greatest seasons for a quarterback in NFL history, what does the fourth-year pro have in store for an encore?
Stafford could be even better this year if he's afforded the benefit of a good rushing attack behind
Cutting down on the 16 interceptions from last season has to be a goal of Stafford's entering the season. If all of his weapons stay healthy, it's possible he could be even more efficient in 2012 than he was a year ago.