Why Matthew Stafford was rested again at Detroit Lions training camp

Dave Birkett
Detroit Free Press
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The Detroit Lions are giving Matthew Stafford another day off from practice.

Stafford did not take part in any teams drills at Saturday's practice, and coach Matt Patricia said "it'll be the same for him" Sunday.

Stafford will have six straight days off from heavy throwing — the Lions had a walkthrough last Wednesday before Thursday's preseason opener, which Stafford did not play in, an off day Friday and another off day scheduled for Monday — though Patricia insisted there's nothing wrong with his quarterback.

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Matt Patricia talks with Matthew Stafford on Thursday before the preseason opener.

"This was a scheduled kind of break in the middle of camp that he and I had talked about before in July, where we thought it’d be a good opportunity coming out of New England before we head to Houston — which will be another really kind of intense couple days of practice — that’d be just a good opportunity for him to be at practice," Patricia said. "He’s a professional, he handles himself really well, prepares really hard, he’s great in meetings, so just thought it was a good break in the action in the middle part of training camp to do that."

Stafford, 31, is entering his 11th NFL season and coming off a down year in which he had his lowest passing total (3,777 yards) since 2010, when he missed 13 games with a right shoulder injury.

Stafford has started every game since that injury-shortened year — 131 including the playoffs — and rarely missed a practice during that time.

The Lions held two joint practices plus a joint walkthrough last week against the Patriots, and they have two more joint practices scheduled this week against the Texans before playing their second preseason game.

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Stafford, on his way off the field Saturday, said, "Oh yeah," enthusiastically when asked if his arm was OK, and Patricia said he does not subscribe to the theory that quarterbacks only have a limited number of throws in their arm.

"I don’t really do the pitch count thing," Patricia said. "I know a lot of people like to do stories about the quarterbacks and the pitch count in baseball. I’m not a baseball guy. I think for me it’s just, it’s really just a feel thing as far as having the game on Saturday. You really got to think about the games and the practice weeks that we have and what's leading up to it.

"What’s different about the preseason is you can really get into some unusual weeks. (Game on) Thursday, (then) Saturday, (then) Friday, (then) Thursday (on a short week). Now we know the fourth one, when that is, and then to get ready for the regular season. Some of the patterns are just different then they would be normally during the regular season. ... So it’s kind of just a weird sort of 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."

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