July 27, 2014 at 4:46 pm

Early signs indicate Lions' Matthew Stafford is 'getting better'

Jim Caldwell answers questions during his press conference on Sunday. (Daniel Mears / Detroit News)

Allen Park — The Lions made clear this offseason they wanted to find help for Matthew Stafford, looking for coaches and players that could help the franchise quarterback stop his regression the past two seasons.

With coach Jim Caldwell, offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi and quarterbacks coach Jim Bob Cooter all bringing experience with elite quarterbacks, Stafford will be pushed more to be a perfectionist. And so far, Caldwell said Stafford has been learning well.

“He is getting better,” Caldwell said. “His command of the offense has been good.”

Caldwell had the quarterbacks report last week, so they could be ahead of the learning curve with the new offense. At that time, Caldwell said he told Stafford he was impressed with his understanding of the new offense considering all the new verbiage and increased pace.

Stafford also arrived for training camp looking like he spent the break studying and practicing.

“I was impressed when he came back that first of all he did not miss a beat,” Caldwell said. “He’s a very, very smart guy. You could tell he’s worked at it even during the summer.

“In every facet when he came back, I could see improvement — footwork, accuracy, timing, command of the offense, all of those things. Now we get a chance to see if we can put it together a little bit more, add a few more things, keep progressing and then get some real challenges from our opposition as we start preseason.”

Lions center Dominic Raiola said Caldwell and Lombardi haven’t been hesitant to call out Stafford in practice when he does something wrong, which should help with the team’s overall accountability.

“The guy’s the franchise,” Raiola said. “He knows what he has to do, he knows what he has to do better and he knows he has to do it for us to be successful.”

jkatzenstein@detroitnews.com

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