Lions focusing on improving Matthew Stafford’s footwork

While many quarterbacks across the NFL have been racking up passing stats over the first five weeks of the season, Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford hasn’t been able to manage the same level of production.

Stafford missed the second half of last season due to a fractured back that brought a premature end to one of the best seasons of his 11-year career. Now back in the lineup for year No. 12, Lions offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said Stafford’s back isn’t an issue for him at the moment. Instead, Bevell says some issues with his footwork need to be cleaned up to get Stafford back in full form.

“I think there’s a lot of things that really go into (how he’s played this year),” Bevell said, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “But I think when you simplify it as easy you can for the quarterback, I had a small conversation with him about it, I think it usually goes back to your feet, because your feet really tell you the story. Your feet is what gets you through your progressions, gets you through the play, and I think that we can continue (to get better there).”

Stafford isn’t playing terrible football, but he isn’t excelling either in a year where offenses are burning out the scoreboards. In four games this season, Stafford has thrown for 1,017 yards and eight touchdowns with three interceptions and has a 93.8 passer rating. While the Lions have played one fewer game than most of the league at this stage, Stafford ranks 16th in passing yards per game among quarterbacks with at least four starts. He also ranks 18th in passer rating and his completion percentage of 60.6 percent is in the bottom third of starters.

But Bevell was insistent that there have been no concerns about Stafford’s back issues lingering or being a problem.

“That hasn’t been brought up even once this year,” he said.