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Stafford, Lions can be 'dangerous' in up-tempo offense

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Matthew Stafford is at his best running a fast-paced offense that allows him to read and react on the fly.

Last season, the Detroit Lions' quarterback played the best ball of his career after offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter took over midseason. In his first full year as OC, Cooter plans to unleash more of Stafford's strengths.

The Lions have used no-huddle in 62 percent of their preseason snaps after using it just seven percent of the time in 2015, according to Pro Football Focus. While the sample size might be small, it's an indication of how Cooter wants his offense to play.

"I think if you do it right -- if you do it well in general -- it's a more efficient way to go about your business," Cooter said of the no-huddle, via MLive.com. "Now does that mean we're always playing extremely fast? Absolutely not. But it also doesn't mean we never do that. We like to have all the options at our disposal. Sometimes we play fast, sometimes we don't. Sometimes we're in the huddle, out of the huddle.

"Whatever we think is best, we're going to do that."

What his franchise quarterback does best is run the no-huddle. Allowing Stafford to move quickly seems to have a calming effect on the passer. His decisions appear quicker and crisper. The influence it has on a defense is an added benefit for Stafford and the offensive line.

"The faster you can push the tempo when you want to, really, it just makes it more stressful on the defense," Stafford said. "If you feel like you're playing at a normal speed, and they think you're playing really fast, it feels a whole lot better for us"

Coach Jim Caldwell reiterated that Detroit won't overwhelmingly run hurry up -- he's no Chip Kelly -- but it should be a heavy portion of Cooter's offense in 2016.

Golden Tate added that the offense isn't restricted when they go no-huddle.

"We can literally call any play in our playbook at any moment, in the huddle or just by a few signals," Tate told the Detroit Free Press. "And if you can do that, you can be real dangerous."

With a running game that looks like it could again be among the worst in the NFL, the Lions will need to throw the ball to score points. Putting Stafford in the no-huddle offense often is the best chance Detroit has to unleash its offensive potential.

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