It was only a pass thrown in practice, but what Dan Orlovsky saw was part of why he put Matthew Stafford on his “best of” list in quarterback rankings.
Orlovsky did not hesitate to say “9” -- Stafford’s uniform number with the Detroit Lions -- when asked on the NFL Network’s Good Morning Football show this week which NFL quarterback has the strongest arm.
He also ranked Stafford No. 1 in fourth-quarter comebacks.
Stafford and Orlovsky were teammates on the Detroit Lions for three years (2014-16), and Orlovsky saw firsthand Stafford’s amazing arm in practice and games.
“This guy makes throws other guys in the NFL don’t even contemplate making,” Orlovsky said. “I’ve seen him rip gloves. Those gloves are leather. He rips them.”
Orlovsky referenced a practice play in explaining why he rates Stafford No. 1 in arm strength.
On the play, the ball was designed to go to Calvin Johnson.
“You send a receiver down the right sideline ... you send a receiver down the left sideline,” Orlovsky said, describing the play. “Calvin, you just run down the middle of the field as fast as you can.
“Matthew had to move a little in the pocket. I saw him rear back a little. Uh, oh – 82 yards later in the air (a catch by Johnson).
“I just remember watching film, counting to 82. That ball was definitely launched. Biggest arm in the league.”