ESPN.com's Jeffri Chadiha spent some time recently with Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford and filed this Hot Read on a player who threw for 5,038 yards in his first full season as an NFL starter. An excerpt:
The lone upside of Stafford's abbreviated seasons was the time they afforded him to study the game. The Lions' coaches always have praised his meticulous nature -- "Little things really matter to Matt because if he doesn't do them, big things don't happen," said offensive coordinator Scott Linehan -- but his approach to his downtime was even more revealing.
When Stafford wasn't rehabilitating his surgically repaired shoulder, he was attending meetings, studying film and running through game-day scenarios while standing on the sideline.
"That time away turned out to be a blessing for him," Burleson said. "He started seeing the game in ways that make people say, 'I can't believe someone that young is doing what he's doing.'"
"I just tried to immerse myself in the offense," Stafford said. "I was here for every game and I didn't go back home [to Texas]. I had a chance to play and a chance to sit and it turned out that 50 percent of my first two seasons was spent watching from the sidelines."