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2020 training camp preview: Quarterback

Key losses: Jeff Driskel

Table inside Article
Name Games Comp. Att. Comp% Yards TD INT
Matthew Stafford 8 187 291 64.3 2,499 19 5
Chase Daniel^ 3 45 64 70.3 435 3 2
David Blough 5 94 174 54.0 984 4 6

^with Chicago Bears

Best competition: Who wins the backup role?

Daniel, 33, is a veteran who's seen a lot of football, been in a lot of meetings and mentored a lot of starters throughout his years as a career backup. He's 2-3 as a starter, completing 149 of 218 passes for 1,430 yards with seven touchdowns and five interceptions.

Daniel went 1-2 as a starter with the Chicago Bears the past two seasons, beating the Lions on Thanksgiving in 2018. He threw for 230 yards and two touchdowns, completing 73 percent of his passes in that contest.

Blough started five games for the Lions as a rookie out of Purdue to end last season after Stafford (back) and Driskel (hamstring) went down with injuries. He lost all five of those starts, completing 54 percent of his passes with four touchdowns and six interceptions. He did, however, get some valuable experience that might help him compete against Daniel for a backup role.

Twentyman's take: Stafford was having arguably his best season last year before a back injury wiped out the second half of his season. Detroit was still 3-4-1 with Stafford playing so well through the first eight games, so improving the league's last-ranked defense has been a priority.

Stafford liked playing in offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell's system last year, which utilized play action and emphasized Stafford's ability to push the ball down the field in the passing game. In year two together, it's fair to expect even more in the passing game in 2020. Stafford has all three of his top receivers back from last season, and we should see second-year tight end T.J. Hockenson be a bigger part of the offense. The Lions also think they've improved the run game this offseason with the addition of some explosive runners and physical linemen. The offense should be pretty good in 2020, as long as Stafford can stay healthy.

Daniel has a leg up on the backup role entering camp because of his experience, what he can provide Stafford in the meeting and film room, and the fact that he's had some success when he's had a chance to play. Blough is a pretty confident young quarterback, however, and will likely give Daniel a good competition in camp.

By the numbers:

18: Stafford is currently 18th on the NFL career passing yards list. He needs 2,016 passing yards this season to pass Dan Fouts, 3,587 yards to pass Drew Bledsoe and 5,209 yards to pass Vinny Testaverde on that list.

59: Passes of 20-plus yards completed by the Lions in 2019, the sixth most in the NFL last season.

111.6: Stafford's passer rating in the fourth quarter last season, which was the second best in the NFL.

2,499 & 19: Passing yards and touchdowns through eight games last season for Stafford, which led all quarterbacks through their first eight games.

41,025: Career passing yards for Stafford through 11 seasons, which is the third most in league history for a quarterback through his first 11 seasons, trailing only Matt Ryan (46,720) and Peyton Manning (45,628).

Quotable: "I just love this guy," Bevell said of Stafford this offseason. "I really like what he's bringing into the meetings, whether it's the individual meetings we're having, the offensive meetings, speaking up at the team meeting.

"He's really doing a great job with his leadership. He's super excited. You sit out half a season, it kind of can give you a sense of where you're at. I think he's really chomping at the bit and excited to get back with his teammates – really get back on the field, continue this thing and start winning a bunch of games."

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