Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford sure can throw a football.
In fact, he can throw one for 5,038 yards and 41 touchdowns when he wants to (see stats from 2011).
But there is one thing that he hasn't really done in Detroit -- partly because he was sidelined with shoulder injuries, and partly because he's young -- and that's lead. He hasn't been the unquestioned leader of a team that desperately needs responsible players to rise to the top -- ones who want to build off a 10-6 campaign in 2011.
"I think every team is different," Stafford told a Detroit-based CBS radio station. "There are leaders on this team that aren’t the quarterback and then obviously I consider myself the leader too. You know I think every situation is different.
"I think the quarterback is an important part of the puzzle. Especially offensive football you gotta have 11 guys doing the right thing every play or else it’s not gonna work and it take a little big of self-discipline and leadership from everyone.”
Having youth ready and fired up for the season is great. It's all but certain that every team has young guys waiting to make an impact. At least the Lions know they have a rookie receiver, former Oklahoma star Ryan Broyles, champing at the bit and awaiting a shot to make plays.
"It’s always fun being out there, doing what I can, when I can," Broyles told DetroitLions.com. "I caught a lot of balls on Sunday, that’s what I’m here to do. It felt good to be out there, clicking with the quarterbacks, fitting into the system.
“I feel like I’m really getting the playbook down, which is a good thing. It’s really just about being cautious about my knee, taking care of it, fighting through some soreness. Some days I feel good, some days I don’t. No new story there. I’m just enjoying it as much as I can, getting out there and playing."
Rookie corner Bill Bentley had a decent game Friday in the Lions' preseason-opener against the Cleveland Browns. Broyles sounds like he's ready to get down to business.
Stafford told the Detroit CBS station that all the problems have seem to vanish during camp.
The Lions just need to make sure that remains the case during the regular season.
"That’s one of the great things of training camp, we get back together and realize from here on out it’s about football," Stafford told CBS. "We gotta learn from the mistakes that were made this off-season and move on and come together as a team to make sure they don’t happen again."
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