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Detroit Lions' Matthew Stafford wants more wins, not yards

Matthew Stafford was hanging out in Georgia a year ago, recovering from surgery on his right shoulder and waiting for the NFL's labor problems to end.

The quarterback, his throwing arm and the league are in much better shape these days.

"It's nice to not have to put myself back together," Stafford said Monday as he joined his teammates for their first voluntary workout of the year to lift weights, run and throw passes to receivers without coaches allowed to observe.

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Stafford threw for 5,000-plus yards and 41 touchdowns last season to lead Detroit to its first playoff appearance since the 1999 season. The Lions were able to keep all the players they wanted, other than cornerback Eric Wright, who left to sign with Tampa Bay, and also kept much of their coaching staff together.

But as far as Stafford is concerned a 4,000-yard passing season would be better if it meant the Lions won a few more games.

"I want to win games," Stafford told the Detroit Free Press, adding that he hopes to see a few more wrinkles in the Lions' attack in the upcoming season. "Last year, the easiest way for us to win games, when we had so many guys injured, was to throw the football a lot. We led the league in attempts passing, and I think we were doing anything we could to win games.

"If we had it our way, we'd be a little bit more balanced, and no, I don't really care if I throw for 5,000 yards."

While the Lions are trying to ride the momentum created last season, Stafford said coach Jim Schwartz had an off-the-field message to deliver during Monday's team meeting after two players were in the news recently. Defensive tackle Nick Fairley was arrested earlier this month on a charge of possessing marijuana and running back Mikel Leshoure had marijuana with him during two traffic stops in less than a month, according to authorities.

Stafford said Fairley and Leshoure didn't address the team.

The Lions started this week's workouts without defensive end Cliff Avril, who is still hoping to sign a long-term deal instead of a one-year contract with the non-exclusive franchise tag.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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