"Our biggest thing is, in order to win football games, you've got to first not lose them, and I thought that he played smart football, and sometimes to a fault," Lombardi said Tuesday, per Ashley Dunkak of CBS Detroit. "We'll look for him to maybe take a few more chances this year with the football. He's got the arm to do it. He's got the receivers to throw it to."
Speaking at a town hall meeting with season ticket holders, Lombardi talked about Detroit's passing game taking a "big jump" in his second year at the wheel, largely because of what he sees from his strong-armed quarterback.
"We as coaches, certainly after looking at the season of film, we've been able to dial in a little bit better, hey, what is he most comfortable and most successful at?" Lombardi said. "So we'll be able to tailor the offense a little bit more to what he likes and what he's good at."
Stafford possesses a deep well of physical talent, but Lions fans know better than to expect perfection. While last year's 60.3 completion percentage was the second highest of his six-year career, Stafford still commits frustrating gaffes on a weekly basis.
Stafford, if anything, dialed back on some of his game-changing, gutsy -- and sometimes fatal -- tosses in 2014, showing more ability to manage the ball in an injury-riddled offense. It's fair to expect more big plays come September if Calvin Johnson can stay healthy across from Golden Tate, with second-year tight end Eric Ebron making a leap.
Still, these are the quiet offseason months when players everywhere are talked about as being merely a few corrections away from glory. That's rarely true -- and especially of seventh-year passers -- but Stafford gives Lombardi plenty to work with under center.