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NOTEBOOK: Stafford not worried about Pro Bowl vote

Does it bug Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford that he got passed over for the Pro Bowl?

"It's not my place to get bugged," Stafford said Wednesday. "I don't worry too much about that kind of stuff."

That's Stafford in a nutshell. He has his eyes on the important business of trying to lead his team to their third straight victory Sunday in Cincinnati to keep their NFC playoff hopes alive.

"I just go out there and play," he said. "I mean Cincinnati's the team that's in front us. That's what I'm focused on. I wasn't even really aware that all that stuff was coming out. Just going out there and trying to prepare for these guys."

Stafford earned his first and only Pro Bowl nod as an alternate in 2014, and could eventually find his way back to Orlando in a similar role the week before the Super Bowl.

He was voted the second alternate to the Pro Bowl behind selections Carson Wentz, Russell Wilson and Drew Brees, and first alternate Jared Goff. With Wentz suffering an ACL injury a few weeks back, Goff is in, making Stafford the next man up.

But first, he and the Lions have some unfinished business to address.

"I think there's still a bunch of meaningful football to be played before I have to make that decision," Stafford said of a possible selection to the game as an alternate. "So, I'm concentrated on that more than anything."

But if Stafford does get the invitation, say if Wilson, Brees or Goff go to the Super Bowl – that's if Detroit doesn't go the Super Bowl, either – he'd certainly be a worthy selection.

He's currently third in passing yards (3,920), fifth in touchdown passes (25) and is the sixth-most accurate quarterback in the league (66.3 percent).

His passer rating is sixth (99.1). He's also the second most highly rated quarterback on passes that travel at least 21 yards in the air (113.9), and he's averaging the sixth most yards per attempt (7.82).

Let's not forget Stafford's doing all that with the support of the league's 31st ranked rushing offense, and he is the second-most sacked quarterback in the league.

He's certainly had himself a Pro Bowl worthy season, but first, Stafford is focused on continuing to play the kind of football that will get him into the playoffs for the fourth time in his career.


There could definitely be a scenario Sunday in Cincinnati where Lions offensive lineman Graham Glasgow and his brother, Bengals defensive tackle Ryan Glasgow, directly square off in the trenches.

View photos of the starters for the Cincinnati Bengals.

Graham, a third-round pick out of Michigan playing in his second year with the Lions, has started at both guard and center this season for the Lions. He's currently filling in for the injured Travis Swanson at center.

Ryan is a rookie fourth-round pick out of Michigan by the Bengals. He's a key reserve on Cincinnati's defensive line. He's played in all 14 games, and has 21 tackles.

"That's going to be an interesting one because of the fact that very rarely do you see them actually play head to head," Caldwell said. "Payton (Manning) on one team and Eli (Manning) on the other.

"Here it's a lot different because of the fact they could be actually lined up against one another. So, I would assume it's one of the first times when both individuals know the other extremely well and knows their strengths and weaknesses. It'll be pretty interesting."


Wide receiver TJ Jones had a career-high 30 catches this season for 399 yards (13.3 average) with a touchdown. Those numbers don't jump off the stat sheet, but for a third and oftentimes fourth receiver, that's great production.

The Lions are going to miss Jones, who was placed on IR Tuesday after injuring his shoulder in last week's win vs. Chicago. He's made a number of tough catches this season, and has become a trusted weapon for Stafford. He's a big reason why Detroit's depth at the position has been so good.

Golden Tate and Marvin Jones Jr. are both on pace for 1,000-yard seasons, while rookie Kenny Golladay has emerged as a big-play threat down the field. Add in TJ Jones, tight end Eric Ebron and running back Theo Riddick, and the Lions have a very accomplished set of pass catchers.

"Yeah, he was a Swiss Army Knife for us, man," Stafford said of TJ Jones. "He did a bunch of stuff for us on offense, played inside, played outside, caught some balls underneath, stretched the field too.

"I know he's valuable on special teams. He was stepping in as a returner if anybody needed a breather or whatever it was. So, obviously a really good player that we'll just have to fill in the next guy up."

It will now be up to Kenny Golladay, Andy Jones or Bradley Marquez to step up and fill the void left by Jones' departure.

"You have to adjust," Caldwell said Wednesday. "We have some guys that we think are capable. We have guys already playing for us that we adjust their role depending upon what we're trying to get accomplished. So, we have to work our way through that."


One of the receivers the Lions could choose to replace TJ Jones with on gameday is Andy Jones, who they signed to the active roster from the practice squad this week.

A second-year pro who went undrafted out of the University of Jacksonville, Andy Jones (6-1, 215) spent his rookie season on Dallas' practice squad before headng over to Houston this year and then Detroit.

"We like him," Caldwell said of Andy Jones. "Andy's performed well. He's studied and worked at it. He's deserving of the opportunity he's going to get.

"So, we'll kind of see what happens. He's been performing well. I like his size. I like the way he's demonstrated his hands in practice sessions. He can run. We'll see what happens."

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