Coming off the bye week, Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions take to the road against the Jaguars at Jacksonville on Sunday.
Obviously 1-3 is not where the Lions want or need to be. Coach Matt Patricia’s job could ride on the outcome.
Stafford hasn’t seemed to be his usual self so far, even though his numbers aren’t bad. He’s completed 60.9 percent of his passes for 1,017 yards, 8 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. He’s been sacked a dozen times which puts him on track for the most sacks of his career, topping 2017 when he was sacked 47 times.
Five thoughts from Stafford:
1. While he’s in his 12th NFL season, he has not lost his edge. “I feel like I’ve got as much juice as I’ve ever had, I’m fighting tooth and nail every week to try and go win it. Sometimes it happens and obviously this year it hasn’t happened enough for us,’’ Stafford said. “I still love playing this game. I still love going out there and competing. Do I hate losing? Absolutely. Does it (tick) me off and frustrate me just like everybody else in this locker room? Absolutely. When we’re in the game there’s nothing more important than trying to win.’’
2. Jacksonville has lost four straight and owns a 1-4 record. The next game will be at Atlanta (0-5) and then home to the Colts (3-2). Those records mean nothing to Stafford. “I don’t need any certain team on the schedule to be overly interested, to be honest with you,’’ Stafford said. “This is my job, my passion, what I’ve worked my entire life for. Every time there’s another (team) across from us on a Sunday and I get to go out, suit up and play I’m excited. I’m motivated. I don’t care who it is. I want to go try and win. I understand the question but for us as competitors, we just want to play good and win.’’
3. Stafford was unaware that Jacksonville, which he’s beaten both times he’s played them, is the only NFL team that he hasn’t thrown a touchdown against. “That needs to happen for sure. Calvin had 100 the one week he couldn’t practice. He had a bad knee and he could only turn right,’’ Stafford recalled. “The other one was at home, I think we had 21 rushes for 14 yards, (Blake) Bortles turned it over … I need to make that happen. Sorry for going back into the archives. I’d like to have that on a tombstone or something.’’
4. The Lions have outscored opponents 34-20 in the first quarter of games, but it’s the only quarter they’ve had the advantage. “It’s probably annoying to hear and boring, but I think the name of the game on offense is execution. I think we’ve done a nice job early in the games, executing those plays and guys were making plays that’s what puts points up and gets first downs. We just have to be more consistent in the way we execute. When we do it at a high level we’ve had some really successful great drives. We just need to do it more often.’’
5. Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said footwork could be one reason Stafford has been a little off his mark this year. “I think it’s something as a quarterback you work on since you’re a little kid, you work on it every single day,’’ Stafford said. “I think it’s just being as consistent as you possibly can with it. That goes to our entire offense, the more we can be consistent the better off we’re going to be. That’s myself included. Just go back and try to make sure when everything is right in front of me, I’m right with my feet and it usually leads to a good place for our team. I think every play is different.’’
(Lions at Jaguars, 1 p.m. on Sunday, FOX and WJR-760 AM.)