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Matt Patricia explains Matthew Stafford’s two rest days at training camp

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Here’s why Stafford is getting some rest days before Texans week.

NFL: Detroit Lions-Training Camp Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Matthew Stafford isn’t the kind of guy that takes many days off. Throughout his 10-year career with the Detroit Lions, Stafford has rarely taken a single practice off, even as he fought through injury after injury.

But this weekend we saw Stafford sidelined in back-to-back training practices, something unheard of during the Stafford era. Lions head coach Matt Patricia insists this is not injury related, but rather something the team had planned a month ago.

“This was a schedule break in the middle of camp that he and I had talked about before in July,” Patricia said on Sunday. “We thought it would be a good opportunity, coming out of New England before we head to Houston, which will be another intense couple days of practice.”

Sunday marked the Lions’ 14th practice in 18 days, meaning the team has only had two days off since the beginning of camp (the other day being Thursday’s preseason game). That is a grueling schedule for anyone, especially when dealing with joint practices in back-to-back weeks.

That being said, Stafford is learning a new offensive system and the Lions aren’t just having him sit on the sidelines doing nothing at all. He’s going through scripted plays at the top of practice and staying mentally active on the sidelines.

Patricia isn’t worried about the missed time for Stafford. He has gone through 10 training camps prior to this one, and a couple days off in August don’t cause any anxiety for the Lions head coach.

“He’s been doing this, he’s a professional,” Patricia. “He handles himself really well, prepares really hard, he’s great in the meetings. So just thought it was a good break in the action in the middle part of training camp.”

Part of the reason for the rest is simply the irregular schedule that the preseason presents. The Lions’ 2019 preseason schedule includes games on Thursday, Saturday, Friday then Thursday again. It inherently creates short weeks and weird travel days that can be taxing on players.

“It’s just kind of a weird weekly schedule where—in the regular season it is what it is, you have to just prepare and go normal—but where we can maybe control some of that in the preseason, we always look at those options,” Patricia said.

With Stafford out of practice again on Sunday, the majority of reps were taken by David Fales, with newly-signed Josh Johnson getting plenty of work with the second and third teams.