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NOTEBOOK: Stafford focusing on the details in order to improve

One of the great attributes of Matthew Stafford's game is he can make all the throws required to play the quarterback position at a high level, plus a few more only he and a handful of others can adlib on the fly.

For the first time in his career, Stafford worked with a quarterback coach in the offseason. He's tried to implement some of the things he's learned in those workouts into practice and the preseason.

One throw in particular, a perfectly placed touch pass on an intermediate crossing route to TJ Jones in the first preseason game in Indianapolis, is a great example of one of the things Stafford's tried to incorporate into his repertoire. 

"I'm uncovering every stone I can to try and find a way to be better," Stafford said. "And I think I got the fast balls down. Pretty good at those. Made a living doing those for a long time. Still have the ability to do that. 

"But at the same time, I felt like maybe when I looked at some tape last year, there were some plays out there that maybe I wasn't trying to make that throw when I felt maybe, when you look at the tape, hey there's a big play to be had there if you could just throw it over this guy and throw it around this guy, whatever it is.

"And so, I just studied all that kind of stuff of how can I generalize this and work on something to get better. And that's kind of some of the stuff that I'm working on."

Heading into year nine, Stafford is trying to pay attention to the details, and is working on some of the little things that can become big things.

"I think this is kind of the time of year to really implement that stuff," he said. "Training camp we have, golly I don't know what it is, 40 minutes of individual time before we start seven-on-seven and team practice and all that kind of stuff.

"So, it's a ton of time to really work on individual. Find ways to get better as an individual that's going to in turn help our team out. So, some of that stuff that I was doing, I've just continued to try to implement it during practice and hope it shows up more and more throughout the games."

It certainly hasn't gone unnoticed by his teammates, including wide receiver Golden Tate.

"I'll say Matt's always had good touch," Tate said. "His arm strength speaks for itself. But I think this offseason he's really been dropping some passes in the bucket. Some that either we catch or no one catches."

One of the things that eluded this offense at times last year was the big play. If Stafford has identified a way where he can sometimes hit on a few more of those plays when the opportunity arises to drop a ball over a defender or lead a receiver away from coverage, it can only be a positive.

"He's trying to get better and that's the mark of a true champion, just in terms of how he goes about working, how he tries to improve upon every little detail," head coach Jim Caldwell said of Stafford.

"And he's performing well right now."


The Lions are done with training camp, and their regular-season-esque daily schedule kicks off this week in preparation for Friday's third preseason game vs. New England.

Practice was scheduled for 2 p.m., so Caldwell moved practice indoors because of the eclipse. The Lions typically only practice indoors when the weather prevents them from working outside.

The moon blocking out the sun is a new one.

During the individual portion of practice open to the media, senior director of player development Galen Duncan, who usually handles the music at practice, played "Total Eclipse of the Heart" by Bonnie Taylor.

Nice touch.


Retired linebacker Stephen Tulloch will be back in town later this week, and is expected to come by practice and gift some younger players like Jarrad Davis and Jalen Reeves-Maybin some of the knowledge he gained over an 11-year career, five of which were spent in Detroit.

"Tully is one of the guys that have been taught by Bill (Sheridan) within the system, so he knows that, he was going to be in town, so we invited him to come on out," Caldwell said.

"Anybody that's played as long as he played, as well as he played over the years, there's always something to offer. And I think more so than anything else, the young guys could certainly learn something from the way in which he handled himself on and off the field, and then also how he took care of his body."


The first touchdown Anquan Boldin ever caught in the NFL was at Ford Field. So was his last.

Boldin announced his retirement from the NFL Sunday night to focus more on his humanitarian ventures.

Boldin's career spanned 14 seasons, first with Cardinals, who selected him with the 54th pick in the 2003 draft, then with Baltimore, and his final season last year with the Lions.

Boldin made three Pro Bowls appearances (2003, 2006, 2008) with the Cardinals and won Super Bowl XLVII with the Ravens in 2012.

He spent last season with the Lions, leading the team with eight touchdown receptions. He also moved ahead of Hall of Famer Andre Reed on the all-time career receiving yards list last season.

Boldin finishes his NFL career with 1,076 receptions (ninth all-time) for 13,779 yards (13th) and 82 touchdowns.

"He's not necessarily a guy that's in front of the media often, but one of the true great gentleman and outstanding performers in our league," Caldwell said of Boldin to open up his media press conference Monday. "Just a quality, quality guy.

"He's one of those guys, you talk about guys that take action and make a difference in your community, who doesn't just showboat, but he is focused in on trying to find ways to make a positive change. He went to Washington D.C. last year and he's had a group that he's taken young children over to Africa teaching educational lessons along the way, he and his wife, through his foundation.

"So, I know he's on the road to do some great things and real gentleman. One of the best in the business."


Players still on PUP: DE Ziggy Ansah, T Taylor Decker and T Corey Robinson

Players still on NFI: P Sam Martin

Not practicing Monday: TE Eric Ebron, WR TJ Jones, WR Dontez Ford, WR Noel Thomas, WR Dez Stewart and CB Adairius Barnes.

T Cornelius Lucas returned to practice for the first time in a few weeks. Also, safety Tavon Wilson ditched the red no-contact jersey he'd been wearing for the last couple weeks.

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