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Camp Spotlight: Quarterback Matthew Stafford

MATTHEW STAFFORD

Position: Quarterback

Ht/Wt: 6-3, 220

College: Georgia

Experience: 10th season

Outlook: Stafford is coming off his seventh straight 4,000-yard season, and had a career-best and franchise-best 99.3 passer rating. He threw 29 touchdowns vs. just 10 interceptions, and recorded 39 completions of 25-plus yards as one of the best down-field passers in the league a year ago.

Stafford is the unquestioned leader on offense, and there’s not much a defense can throw at him he hasn’t already seen. He has his offensive coordinator back, and his top four receivers. He should also get much more support from the running back position.

Stafford is in the upper echelon of NFL quarterbacks. He gives the Lions a chance to win every single week.

Practice report: Stafford showed during a team drill against the Oakland defense Wednesday precisely what makes him special at the position.

The offense wasn’t getting much going in the drill, and had backed itself up with penalties and miscues. It was one of those team periods where they’d gain a little and lose a little, and were kind of just plodding along. Then, a great throw over the middle for a nice gain to Theo Riddick. Next play, deep to Marvin Jones Jr. down the left sideline for a big play. Just like that, the Lions are in the Oakland red zone.

Stafford threw a terrific high-point football to receiver Kenny Golladay in a red zone 7-on-7 drill vs. the Raiders' defense. He saw the defender wasn’t looking and put a perfect pass on Golladay, who went up and caught it over cornerback Shareece Wright.

The offense overall didn’t look as crisp as it did Tuesday. The two teams ended practice with some 11-on-11 sessions, and I thought the Raiders won on offense and defense. Stafford looked to audible into a nice play with Tate for a big gain early on, but missed on a couple deep balls to Golladay and Jones. He was also whistled down for a couple sacks.

Stafford isn’t expected to play much, if at all, in Friday’s first preseason game, so he said the work he got in Tuesday and Wednesday was crucial.

Quotable: “Obviously another year in the system is just going to hopefully help me expand my ability within the system to get us into the best plays possible,” Stafford said after Wednesday’s practice. “I feel very comfortable at the line of scrimmage doing our thing, but I can always be better.

“I’m always trying to find ways to improve and to get the ball to those playmakers at a higher clip.”

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