Matthew Stafford completed 371-of-634 passes (58.5 percent) last season. (Daniel Mears / Detroit News)
Matthew Stafford’s performance in his sixth NFL season will be key to the Lions’ success in 2014.
And with more weapons added to the offense, the quarterback said Monday on ESPN’s Mike & Mike radio show there are no excuses for the unit to underachieve this season.
“Absolutely,” he said when asked if the Lions had no more excuses. “I totally agree with that, and I think our biggest challenge right now is learning the new offense and making sure we master it.
“The teams that are successful on offense in this league have a great understanding of what they’re trying to do and what defenses are trying to do to stop them.”
The Lions’ new offense under coordinator Joe Lombardi will mirror the New Orleans Saints’ offense, which is where Lombardi coached the past seven seasons, but it will also include elements of coach Jim Caldwell’s past offenses.
Since being hired in January, Caldwell has said several times he expects to win right away, and Stafford agrees with that mindset.
“I think that’s the way we all feel anyway,” he said on the radio show. “It’s actually refreshing. It’s nice that a coach isn’t walking in looking for a grace period. He’s walking in expecting to win, putting the pressure on himself to make sure he gets everything he can out of players in Year 1.”
Stafford also said Caldwell immediately earned the respect of his new team.
“He garners a lot of respect in our locker room just with his history as a coach, whether it be a head coach or a part of teams that have gone to Super Bowls, won Super Bowls,” he said. “And a lot of our coaching staff has done the same, so that’s something that’s a little bit different. Just the experience that they have bring to the table is pretty impressive.”
Lions training camp begins Monday at 3:30 p.m.