Lions Notebook: Stafford Off To Good Start

While the veterans were going through organized team activities without the rookies, the Lions sent rookie Matthew Stafford practice scripts and video. And Stafford studied hard, and his hard-work was evident in his play. Much more inside from Detroit's recent OTAs.

What's the best line Matthew Stafford has heard since the rookies joined the veterans for the Lions' offseason workouts?

"A guy couldn't catch me coming out of a bootleg, and he said, 'Sorry, I was just picking up all the money falling out of your pockets,' " Stafford said. "I just laughed."

The guy was defensive end Eric Hicks.

"The vets always give the new guy, especially the first-round picks -- especially the first pick -- a lot of trouble," Hicks said. "It was just all in good fun."

Hey, what do you expect?

Stafford was the No. 1 pick in the draft. He signed a six-year contract worth up to $78 million.

As coach Jim Schwartz said: "Comes with the territory. Everybody knows -- the people in the locker room know, the people in Detroit. No matter where he goes, he's going to have that.

"What's good about it, he takes it good-naturedly. He knows it's part of this business. It's part of the locker-room chemistry. And if you don't embrace it, you're going to have a hard time being a quarterback in this league."

Stafford is off to a good start.

While the veterans were going through organized team activities without the rookies, the Lions sent Stafford practice scripts and video. Stafford studied hard.

And when the rookies arrived, Stafford said he didn't gulp when under center the first time. Some of the things the Lions are doing on offense are similar to what Stafford did at Georgia.

"I feel pretty prepared, and I feel like they're doing a great job of spending extra time with me and trying to catch me up to speed as much as possible," Stafford said. "As long as I understand the play, then the concepts are pretty familiar to me."

Schwartz said the Lions have even had to hold back Stafford a little bit because he has wanted to do too much.

"I think you saw a couple passes he would rather have had back, but then you saw a couple that made the defense pay," Schwartz said. "He can do those kind of things.

"It's going to just be the accumulation of reps and making those throws a million different times and learning the ones that he can make and the ones that he shouldn't."

All while watching out for money-grubbing veterans, of course.

"It gave me some extra incentive to chase him on the bootleg," Hicks said. "I figured some hundreds might fall out of his pocket."

More Notes

  • The Lions visited with free-agent cornerback Rod Hood but nothing appears imminent. "I think he was still in the exploratory range, looking around, checking his options out," Schwartz said. "We're going to look at everybody. We're at that point -- I keep saying the same things -- there's no spot that we feel great about that we go in right now saying, 'We're 100 percent set.' So anybody that comes available, we're going to do our due diligence."
  • Though Schwartz said the Lions are still considering adding a veteran quarterback, it won't be Michael Vick, who has been released from prison and is trying to revive his NFL career. Asked about Vick, Schwartz said: "Nah, I think we're pretty happy with where our quarterbacks are right now."
  • QB Drew Stanton looks better than he did earlier in the off-season. "He didn't start off very strong, but the thing I've been pleased with him is that, when he has had a bad day, he's come back the next time with a better day," Schwartz said. "Even though he's had a couple bumps in the road, his general graph has been trending up."
  • Defensive tackle Grady Jackson has been around the building just about every day despite a serious personal issue. His brother, Javorris Jackson, allegedly shot and killed his girlfriend, Courtney Solomon, and then shot himself in an apparent attempted suicide May 3. "His spirits are good," Schwarz said of Grady Jackson. "It's a tough situation. Nobody wants to go through something like that. He's had a lot of support in the locker room. We've given him his time to be able to take care of things that are more important than on the football field right now."

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I don't know. We're not that good of friends." -- Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, on whether he thinks Jets QB Mark Sanchez's abs were airbrushed for a recent photo shoot.


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