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Matthew Stafford not a concern for Detroit Lions

The Detroit Lions aren't worried about Matthew Stafford.

Maybe that's why they get paid the big bucks. To the rest of us, Stafford seems a bit off. He threw three first-half interceptions in the season opener before a fourth-quarter rally defeated the St. Louis Rams 27-23. Stafford looked pedestrian in the 27-19 loss to the San Francisco 49ers.

Expectations were much higher for someone coming off a 5,000-yard, 41-touchdown effort in 2011.

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"His completion percentage is down a little bit," coach Jim Schwartz said, according to MLive.com's Justin Rogers. "I think Matt is going to be a high-60s percentage thrower. We're not trying to hit any benchmarks as far as stats. We need to throw the ball a little bit better, we could limit the turnovers. That starts with the quarterback, but that goes to every position on offense -- that goes to offensive line, that goes to receivers.

"There's a lot of different places we need to be able to do better to operate efficiently in the passing game."

Stafford's completion percentage is actually 0.3 higher right now, but we get the point. Still, the former No. 1 pick has four interceptions in two games and is on pace to double his 16 INTs in 2011. Stafford's accuracy and decision-making seems just a little off. Which is a shock after so much was was made of the offseason work with Calvin Johnson.

The Lions' success is directly tied to Stafford. This is a quarterback league more than ever, but the situation in Detroit is even more dire. The defense is still developing and yields plenty of points. The Lions have to count on the offense because it can't rely on the defense on a weekly basis. Oh, and Detroit's running game is nonexistent. That puts a lot on the quarterback.

Stafford has shown he can shoulder the load -- he just has to do it.

"I think the biggest things teams are doing is testing our patience as an offense," Stafford said. "They're trying to figure out how to slow us down. That's every defensive coordinator's job obviously. That's something we have to continue to work on, and I have to continue to work on as well, just taking what the defenses are giving me and picking and choosing the times to take shots. And when we do take them, we just have to hit him. The first two games we had some shots and haven't really hit them yet."

Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.

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