Stafford’s fiery demeanor a favorable sight

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford questions a call in the first quarter on Sunday at Indianapolis.

Allen Park — Marvin Jones could see Matthew Stafford yelling at him, but he couldn’t hear a word over the roar of the crowd at Lucas Oil Stadium during the closing seconds of the Detroit Lions’ 39-35 season-opening win against the Indianapolis Colts.

“I saw his finger when he said get out of bounds, and I thought, ‘Oh, yeah, maybe I should have got out of bounds,’” Jones said. “But at the end, he gave me a slap and said, ‘Good play.’”

With time winding down and the Lions trailing by one, Jones hauled in a pass inside Colts’ territory and attempted to push deeper downfield after the catch instead of running out of bounds to stop the clock. That forced the Lions to use their last timeout, drawing the ire of Stafford, who was caught on camera berating Jones.

“Yeah, well, we had one timeout left and I wanted to try to save that to give us the full gamut, maybe we were going to run the ball the next play,” Stafford said after the game. “It’s not a huge thing, but it’s something where, situationally, we can be a little bit better. I’m on those guys as much as I can to try to do everything right.”

Jones had an internal battle in the moment — debating whether to try to improve the team’s field position on his own and relinquish Detroit’s final timeout or go out of bounds. In hindsight, he understands going out of bounds was what his quarterback and coach expected.

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Stafford also got after tight end Eric Ebron the previous play, when the young tight end wasted precious seconds appearing to stare down the defender he had just beat for a 9-yard reception.

Stafford’s fiery demeanor was a welcomed sight for those clamoring for more passionate leadership from the quarterback position, but coach Jim Caldwell has never questioned Stafford’s ability to lead.

“You haven’t watched him closely, he’s always been that way,” Caldwell said. “He may not do it in a demonstrative way where you can visually see it. He’s always been a great leader.”