Ht/Wt: 6-3, 220
Experience: 12th season
Outlook: Before he was injured Week 9 in Oakland last year, Stafford was playing some of his best football. His yards, touchdowns and passer rating all ranked in the top five among the league's quarterbacks through the first half of the season. He was playing at a Pro Bowl level. It's even more impressive when we consider that last year was his first season in Darrell Bevell's offensive scheme, and he was trying to learn that new offense while dealing with some challenging times personally with his wife Kelly undergoing brain surgery.
Entering his second season in the system, Stafford is healthy, comfortable in the scheme, and has all of his main skill position weapons returning, along with some young additions looking to make their mark.
The Lions' offense has the potential to be pretty scary, as long as they can protect Stafford and keep him healthy.
Practice report: The Lions practiced outside in the rain that came through the Metro Detroit area Wednesday. That requires extra focus and attention to detail from the players, especially the quarterback.
It looked like the wet setting played a factor midway through practice. In an offense vs. defense team period, with the offense in the shadow of its own goal line at the 1-yard line, Stafford fumbled a snap from center Frank Ragnow, and was forced to jump on the ball in the end zone for a safety. Any fumbled snap requires a jog around the field. Stafford and Ragnow aren't immune to the rules, so off they went.
After his jog, Stafford came back and finished out the period 2-of-3 passing with completions to wide receivers Danny Amendola and Quintez Cephus.
In the next team period vs. the defense, Stafford was 2-of-4 passing with a completion to running back Kerryon Johnson for a big gain after a nice play to step up and avoid the rush. He also hit tight end Isaac Nauta for a big gainer down the left sideline. Stafford under-threw an open Cephus on a deep ball in the end zone, which allowed cornerback Jeff Okudah to close on the ball and knock it away. Cephus also dropped a perfect Stafford pass across the middle to end the period for the first-team offense. It was one of the few times we've seen Cephus drop a pass.
Stafford's last team period of practice was a red-zone period against the defense. He finished that period 3-of-5 passing with completions to Johnson and tight end T.J. Hockenson on well-designed screen passes for big gains, and to wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr. for a touchdown. He missed on passes to running back Ty Johnson and wide receiver Kenny Golladay.
All and all, it was a pretty efficient afternoon for Stafford in really wet and rainy conditions.
Quotable: "If we play bad on offense, it means nothing," Stafford said of all the time spent this offseason throwing with offensive teammates on his own because of the offseason training program in Allen Park being cancelled. "We've got to go out there and produce on Sunday. We've got to make those things count. We've got to make those reps count. I certainly tried to get a jump start any way I could."