Stafford, Schwartz Not Surprised By Poise

So how did Jim Schwartz feel about rookie Matthew Stafford's poised response to his second-half interception? "It didn't take Vince Lombardi to see that he can throw the football, but all those other things led to this organization drafting him." More inside from Schwartz and Stafford.

Matthew Stafford is human after all.

After a lights-out training camp, the young Lions gun-slinger entered Saturday's exhibition opener to an applause from the crowd and perhaps some irrational expectations.

In the opening drive of the second-half, Stafford felt the rush from the Falcons blitz, tossing an ill-advised pass from his back foot that was intercepted and returned for a touchdown by Atlanta's Tony Gilbert.

His next series, however, ended with a veteran-like 25-yard touchdown pass to rookie Derrick Williams.

"I'm going to throw interceptions, it's going to happen; every quarterback does and I understand that," said Stafford after the game. "It never really got to me and I don't plan on it happening anytime soon.

"I knew there was going to be another drive and I had another chance to get out there and make something happen and best way to make up for that is to go out there and score a touchdown."

Head coach Jim Schwartz echoed those comments.

"Obviously Matt made a bad decision," said Schwartz. "They blitzed him, a rookie quarterback is going to get blitzed, but then rather than burning the ball he tried to make a play that ended up costing him.

"The thing I liked about it is: he bounced back with an 80-yard touchdown drive and took a hit which you have to do in the NFL and made a perfect pass and Derrick (Williams) made a great catch. I liked that bounce back."

Stafford's touchdown wasn't his only impressive pass, however. Before the close of the first half, he threaded the needle on a sideline hook-up with Keary Colbert on a 28-yard play. Colbert, however, did drop three very catchable Stafford passes, each of which would have resulted in first-down gains.

Both Stafford and veteran Daunte Culpepper were without the team's top receivers, including Calvin Johnson, Bryant Johnson, and Dennis Northcutt. Tight ends Brandon Pettigrew and Casey FitzSimmons were also held out. Other than FitzSimmons, each player is expected to be ready by next week.

Schwartz said he wasn't surprised by Stafford's ability to demonstrate poise and bounce back after the interception.

"That's part of his personality; that's one of the reasons we drafted him," explained Schwartz. "He's not scared, he's not afraid, he's not afraid to go back out and put himself out there.

"It didn't take Vince Lombardi to see that he can throw the football but all those other things led to this organization drafting him."

Stafford finished the game 7 of 14 with 114 yards, and according to a team source, might be tabbed to start next weekend's tilt at Cleveland.

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