Lions OC: Stafford given more early on than Brees


Matthew Stafford had an uneven year by nearly all accounts outside the Detroit Lions' facility. 

In his final 2014 QB Index, the erudite Gregg Rosenthal described Stafford -- whom he ranked No. 17 -- as "... depressingly consistent. He misses too many throws and doesn't adapt well against quality defenses."

Following the season-ending loss to the Dallas Cowboys -- Stafford's best game of the season -- offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi told the Lions official team website that he had heaped more responsibility on Stafford than even Drew Brees had early in his days with the New Orleans Saints.

"Looking back, I kind of try to drop maybe some responsibilities on him that maybe a quarterback like Drew didn't get until four years into the system in New Orleans," Lombardi said. "We asked a lot of him, and he responded. There is a tax when you ask a quarterback maybe to do that much and the more comfortable he gets the lower that tax will be."

Lombardi mentioned aspects such as play checks, protections and blocking scheme calls, among others.

The offensive coordinator was brought in from New Orleans to help Stafford improve his accuracy and lower his turnover count. The latter was a success, as the 26-year old quarterback threw a career-low 12 picks.

On balance, in his first year in Lombardi's offense, the six-year pro was wholly inconsistent. However, Stafford played better down the stretch, a suggestion he's becoming more comfortable in the new system.

There are bound to be growing pains for any quarterback entering a new system, especially with a coordinator who was a first-time play caller. Like any rookie, Lombardi will need to get better calling plays in Year 2.

And so too must Stafford improve, no matter how much responsibility the coordinator dumps on him.

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