Lions Don't Mind "Gun-Slinger" Stafford

Detroit rookie quarterback Matthew Stafford demonstrated that his "gun-slinger" mentality can pay dividends in last week's win. Now he has to do it consistently. Lions head coach Jim Schwartz discusses Stafford's interception total, and the perception of a "gun-slinger." Also: Can Detroit stop Devin Hester?

Some like it, others don't. But Matthew Stafford's "gun-slinger" mentality is what it is, and the Lions are simply waiting for it to pay dividends.

During last weekend's win over Washington, they got a taste.

Complimented by a productive rushing attack, Stafford had chunk pass completions of 20, 21, 24, 22 and 24 yards. He also brought about a 47-yard pass interference penalty on the Redskins, and had a 62-yard completion to Calvin Johnson negated by a questionable pass interference call.

Yet Stafford's five interceptions, which occurred in the first two games, haunt his still premature resume.

"It's an offensive philosophy and it's also defense. Half of his interceptions came from being late in the game and needing to make a play when you're down three scores," explained Lions coach Jim Schwartz on Friday. "It's not a good situation to put any quarterback in —- Brett Favre, Jay Cutler, or a rookie like Matt Stafford.

"If you're aggressive taking shots down the field and the offense is pushing the ball down the field, there's always going to be a fine line between making a great play and being too conservative."

Stafford has drawn comparisons to his next opponent, Chicago's Jay Cutler. Both quarterbacks have well-documented arm strength, and a reputation for being onfield gamblers.

"I think both of those guys have enough skill, I don't know that you're going to compare either one to other people," said Schwartz. "But, strong arm, I think you'd start there. I haven't been around Jay Cutler enough to make any other comparisons but obviously their arms are very similar."

Stopping Hester

Devin Hester used to terrorize opponents in the return game. Now he's taking on entire defenses.

Chicago's KR/PR convert has been successful, too. He's tied for the team lead in receptions with 13, averaging over 14 yards per catch.

Last week, the Lions struggled with Washington's Santana Moss, a similar possession receiver with escape and evade ability. So how do the Lions plan to stop Hester?

"That's a question a lot of people have been trying to figure out the answer to," said Schwartz. "There's a reason they haven't been able to figure it out—it's because he's a really talented player.

"He's really fast, not just on special teams but also as a wide receiver. He's really developed as a wide receiver. To watch his growth going from a part-time specialty player a few years ago to being a full time flanker/receiver, he's really developed into that role. He is an NFL receiver, and if he makes one guy miss he can go the distance. He can also burn you with his speed going over the top... he's good in the short area; he can catch a short pass and go the distance because he has good moves. But he also has speed to be able to go the distance and put you in a bind defensively."


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