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Quinn: Matthew Stafford 'really growing as a leader'

When quarterback Matthew Stafford stands under center in the fall, there's a good chance he will be the oldest player among the Lions' starters on offense at just 28 years old.

Stafford has a lot of football experience in the offensive meeting room. It makes him the guy a lot of players will be looking at to lead them.

"I think he's really growing as a leader," Lions general manager Bob Quinn said in a radio interview on The Huge Show last week. "Now that we have some different guys on the team, some of the new guys are looking towards him in terms of leadership and I think that's a great thing to have."

Stafford seems comfortable in the role of elder statesman for an offense that's deep into the installment of a new scheme this offseason.

It's a scheme Stafford should feel very comfortable in. He put together the best eight-game stretch of any quarterback in team history to end last season after the scheme was partially installed on the fly midseason. He threw for 19 touchdowns with just two interceptions and completed 70 percent of his passes along the way.

The new and young faces to the roster on offense are looking at him to lead the way this offseason as the full installment of the scheme continues.

"I feel old," Stafford joked last week. "It's crazy how it happens. You feel like you're the young guy forever and all the sudden...

"It's the NFL, they're always trying to bring in competition, bring in young guys, see if they can pave their way in this league and we're no different. We got a bunch of competition at a lot of positions and it's going to make us better."

The projected starting offensive line consisting of Taylor Decker (21), Riley Reiff (27), Larry Warford (24), Laken Tomlinson (24) and Travis Swanson (25) averages just 24 years of age.

Running back Ameer Abdullah is 22. None of the top four receivers are older than 27. Tight end Eric Ebron is 23.

Expectations are high on Stafford heading into the season not only because of his progression last year, but also due to his standing as one of the most veteran leaders on offense.

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