DETROIT (97.1 The Ticket) There's a lot riding on the shoulders of Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford as a new season gets under way with thousands of fans hoping for big wins.
The team suffered drama through much of the off-season, with numerous arrests for drunken driving and drug charges against Nick Fairley, Mikel Leshoure, and Aaron Berry. During a trip to visit the team two weeks ago, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the arrests "reflected poorly" on the entire NFL.
But Stafford said that all drama washed away as soon as training camp began.
"That's one of the great things of training camp, we get back together and realize from here on out it's about football. 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," Stafford said.
He added: "For us, we are just focused on football right now. That's the No. 1 thing we can do is try to get better as a team and I think all being together and working together and working towards a common goal at this time is helping us out."
So, who's leading the team that has such high aspirations this year? That job usually falls on the quarterback.
"I think every team is different. There are leaders on this team that aren't the quarterback and then obviously I consider myself the leader too," Stafford said. "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."
Stafford also praised his "great teammates on the offensive and defensive side of the ball."
Stafford played in the first pre-season game last week against the Browns, going 4-7 for 51 yards, with an interception on a deep pass intended for Brandon Pettigrew.
But he didn't get hurt. So, how does Stafford plan to get better than ever this season?
"Consistency," he said. "The biggest thing for me is I had the finger injury about midway through the season last year but even a couple of games before that I didn't feel like I was playing my best football and as a quarterback to be a great quarterback -- and somebody that is leading their team -- you have to be consistent."
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