- Kevin Seifert, NFL Nation
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ESPN.com's weeklong project on "Teams We Can't Wait to See" continued Tuesday with the Detroit Lions. Seth Wickersham's story focuses in large part on quarterback Matthew Stafford's mechanics and offered a theory I hadn't heard before to explain why Stafford seemed to be making more non-traditional throws last season than ever before.
Wickersham: "Stafford has battled various injuries over the years, and scouts have noticed that the wear of those injuries and of averaging 41 attempts per game have taken a toll. Watch highlights of his rookie season or even his college years, and you'll see a cleaner release. Stafford has never been a classic, over-the-top thrower like Peyton Manning, but his motion at times has dropped from three-quarters years ago to almost underhanded."
It's a fact that Stafford dealt with an injury to his throwing shoulder that eventually required surgery after the 2010 season. So does he at times drop his arm angle to compensate? That's one explanation. There is also another, simpler explanation: His confidence in attempting unconventional throws has grown with his on-field success in 2011 and 2012.
Certainly the Lions would like for Stafford to have completed more than 59.8 percent of the throws in his career, and it's natural to start picking through mechanics as a cause. Is it fair? That's a much more difficult question to answer.