Matthew Stafford couldn’t give an update on his contract negotiations with the Detroit Lions—saying that there is currently “no timetable” for a deal to get done—but he did provide an interesting development in his offseason workout.
During a press conference on Saturday, Stafford revealed that he worked out with a quarterback specialist that “a bunch of guys around the league have thrown with” before.
“I spent some time out in California throwing with some guys, just working on being as good of a player as I can possibly be mentally, physically, on the field, off the field,” Stafford said.
While Stafford wouldn’t provide details on what he worked on or who he worked with, this does show a stark difference in philosophy from the veteran quarterback. As Dave Birkett pointed out, Stafford didn’t think he would benefit from a quarterback specialist earlier in his career.
“It’s not something that I feel would be my style or beneficial to me," said Stafford in late 2013.
Now, Stafford is singing a much different tune. Throughout Saturday’s press conference, Stafford repeatedly emphasized how committed he was to improving himself in any way possible. “I’m just trying to find every little different thing I can do to raise my game,” Stafford told reporters.
Watch LIVE as Matthew Stafford meets the media before #LionsCamp
Watch LIVE as Matthew Stafford meets the media before #LionsCampPosted by Detroit Lions on Saturday, July 29, 2017
In fact, Stafford admitted this was the first time he ever sought out help since his childhood. “It is the first time for me, ever since John Stafford taught me how to throw a football.”
Stafford was at least partially inspired by his good friend, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan. “I definitely talked to him about it and his experience,” Stafford admitted.
Last offseason, Ryan traveled to California and sought help from Tom House and Adam Dedeaux, two former pitchers who have helped quarterbacks like Tom Brady and Drew Brees fine-tune their mechanics for years. Sports Illustrated has a great video on what exactly House does to help take quarterbacks to the next level.
The results obviously worked for Ryan. Not only did Ryan win the league’s MVP for the first time in his career last season, but he led the Falcons to the Super Bowl for just the second time in their franchise’s history.
That’s a high bar to set for Stafford and the Lions, but Matthew seemed pleased with what he got out of the sessions. “I just thought it was an opportunity and went for it, and I enjoyed it,” Stafford said.