Stafford talks family, new offense & more

Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford has an optimistic update on his wife Kelly’s recover from brain surgery and on the adjustment he and his teammates are making under new offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell.

Stafford has said little publicly since Kelly underwent a 12-hour operation in April. She has posted occasional updates on Instagram on her condition and progress.

Stafford spoke of Kelly’s recovery, and the couple’s gratitude over public support, in an appearance Wednesday evening on the Mitch Albom Show on WJR-760 AM.

Stafford was appearing at the seventh annual Taste of the Lions at Ford Field.

“She’s doing good,” Stafford said. “I think she’s kind of right where the doctors want her to be at this point in her recovery.”

When asked about support from well-wishers, Stafford replied: ”I know she and I both appreciate it.”

View photos from the 2019 Taste of the Lions event at Ford Field in Detroit on Wednesday, May 15, 2019.

He added that playing quarterback for the Lions for 10 years has made him more accustomed than Kelly is to being the focal point of public reaction. However, she has been more active than Matthew on social media.

“I’m a little more used to people all over either being involved or knowing what’s going on in our lives,” Stafford said. “I think for her, it was awesome, and I know she leaned on it a lot. It was great.”

Stafford has kept up to date with what’s happening with the team overall and the offense in particular. That includes personnel moves, both in the draft and free-agent signings.

Stafford has been participating in the Lions’ offseason workouts. He has not been available for any of the weekly interviews.

There is a significant difference in the offense Bevell is installing than the one he ran since Jim Bob Cooter became offensive coordinator midway through the 2015 season.

“It’s kind of like learning a new language,” Stafford said. “It really is. It’s different. This is my fourth different coordinator and fourth different language to learn. Guys are really diving in, and he’s doing a good job of teaching it.”

There is no shortcut, Stafford said.

View photos from phase two of the 2019 voluntary offseason workout program in Allen Park, Mich.

“It takes a while,” he said. “You get a ton of work in practice. The way we practice here, it’s high intensity all the time. It’s game-like situations as much as we possibly can do it, and it really helps us.

“Every player learns it differently. It takes reps and time together to go out there and do it.”

The Lions made moves in the offseason to bolster the offense and defense in head coach Matt Patricia’s plan to build a stronger, tougher team on both sides of the ball.

Stafford follows the draft closely. He said he did not have any preference over who the Lions drafted – offense or defense – but was happy for tight end T.J. Hockenson being drafted in the first round because he knew what the experience means to young players.

“It’s such a cool experience,” Stafford said. “To think back 10 or 11 years ago (the 2009 draft), I was doing that. I’m just happy for those guys. It’s such a cool new chapter in their lives. Hopefully, he (Hockenson) can helps us win, and all those guys succeed.

“At this point, I just want who can help us win. I don’t care what position. I just want good picks.”

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