The Facts: As QB, Stafford took much of the blame for the Lions' 2014 offensive regression, though HC Jim Caldwell said the QB was really one of the biggest reasons for the team's success. "I'm most concerned about wins," Caldwell said. "That's what I'm most concerned about. Stats don't mean a whole lot to me. I would rather have a team that wins and gets into the playoffs than a team that throws for 9,000 yards. It just makes sense."
Diehards Line: Stafford led the Lions to their second playoff appearance in four seasons last year and threw for 4,257 yards and 22 touchdowns, but the Lions disappointed offensively overall. After ranking as one of the league's top scoring units for most of Jim Schwartz's tenure, the Lions finished 19th in total yards and 22nd in points scored in Caldwell's first season as head coach. The coach told Free Press staffer Dave Birkett that he typically sees major growth and development from QBs in their fifth, sixth or seventh years in the NFL. Birkett notes that last year, Caldwell said the same about QBs in their fourth, fifth and sixth seasons; Stafford is entering year seven this fall. It's time. ... More familiarity with OC Joe Lombardi's offense, paired with a healthier offensive line and receiver unit in 2015 could allow Stafford to make that leap. But there are still those who question his fundamentals. That will have to change as well.