2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Lions' Stafford wants to beat his hometown Cowboys

By LARRY LAGE - AP Sports Writer
    2013-10-23 16:53

ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) - Matthew Stafford grew up rooting for his hometown Dallas Cowboys and looking up to quarterback Troy Aikman.

He had Cowboys trading cards and once dressed up as one of their players - sporting a plastic helmet - for Halloween.

''That's what everybody did. It was Dallas,'' Stafford recalled. ''They were winning Super Bowls.''

He will put his childhood memories aside Sunday, hoping the Detroit Lions (4-3) beat Dallas (4-3) to avoid dropping to a .500 record going into their bye.

Stafford's family members have been converted to Lions fans, but not all of his friends will be when he is playing against their beloved Cowboys.

''They want me to have a really good game and lose it in the end,'' he said.

John Stafford recalls taking his son to a couple of Cowboys games a year, starting at the age of 5 after it was clear the kid knew what he was looking at on a football field.

''Once when he was 4, he was sitting next to me at home while we were watching a game on TV,'' John Stafford said Wednesday in a telephone interview. ''There was a run to the left and Matthew said, `The left tackle didn't pull.' Seconds later, John Madden said the same thing on TV. It was incredible. He absolutely knew what was going on even when he was that young.''

John Stafford watched his son play against the Cowboys on Oct. 2, 2011, when he threw a winning touchdown pass to Calvin Johnson with 1:39 left in the road game. And he plans to be at Ford Field on Sunday.

''It's not surreal because Matthew belongs in the NFL,'' John Stafford said. ''I'm just so happy for him because he's doing what he loves to do and has always loved to do and he's getting to do it at the highest level.''

Stafford has done his part to help the Lions have success this season. He has an NFC-high 2,129 yards passing, is tied for second in the NFL with 15 touchdown passes and has thrown just four interceptions.

Sometimes, though, Stafford has thrown passes too high or wide this year when the Lions have really needed him to connect for first downs or scores. He was 28 of 51 in Sunday's loss to Cincinnati, completing a season-low 54.9 percent of his passes.

''Obviously, I missed a couple,'' he said. ''I missed a 70-yarder to CJ (Calvin Johnson) and that's like a long foul ball. You're not going to hit those all the time. Obviously every game, there are throws you want back. But I feel like I'm putting the ball in some good spots for guys to make plays.''

Lions receiver Kevin Ogletree, a former Cowboy, said Stafford hasn't missed him on any of the passes he has thrown his way in three games. Ogletree was on the receiving end of a perfect 43-yard pass that hit him in stride along the sideline against the Bengals.

''That was the most accurate pass I've ever caught,'' Ogletree said.

While Stafford's arm strength might hurt him when a soft touch is needed on short passes, it helped on that particular throw.

''That was a ball that I had to rip,'' he said.

Stafford said he has talked to and learned from Aikman over the years, learning that a strong arm isn't the only thing NFL quarterbacks need to win.

''His biggest deal was timing,'' Stafford said. ''He and Michael Irvin had unbelievable timing with (Jay) Novacek and all those guys. You watch him play, he was cutting loose at the out route early. He and Irvin just had that.''

NOTES: Lions DT Ndamukong Suh said he hasn't decided whether to accept the NFL's offer to discuss his discipline-filled season next week. ... Lions WR Calvin Johnson (right knee), S Louis Delmas (knee) OT Corey Hilliard (knee) and OT Riley Reiff (hamstring) didn't practice Wednesday, while OT Jason Fox (knee) and CB Rashean Mathis (groin) were limited.

---

Online: AP NFL website www.pro32.ap.org

---

Follow Larry Lage on Twitter: http://twitter.com/larrylage

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Tony RomoJul 27 10:59a

Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo (back) will sit out practice Friday, July 25 as part of a preplanned day off, according to Jason Garrett. Romo is scheduled to take [ More ]

Brian TymsJul 27 10:12a

The New England Patriots signed WR Brian Tyms (Browns) Sunday, July 27. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Geno SmithJul 27 10:05a

New York Jets QB Geno Smith received 16 snaps with the first-team offense during practice Saturday, July 26, while QB Michael Vick received three snaps. Smith has received 42 [ More ]

Davin MeggettJul 27 09:02a

The Indianapolis Colts re-signed RB Davin Meggett (Redskins) Sunday, July 27. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

J.T. ThomasJul 27 01:12a

Jacksonville Jaguars TE D.J. Tialavea (quadriceps) and LB J.T. Thomas (hamstring) left practice early Saturday, July 26, because of injuries. Thomas was carted off the field after suffering his injury.

Darius JohnsonJul 27 01:02a

Free-agent WR Darius Johnson (Falcons) was arrested in May by the Atlanta Police Department for driving under the influence, expired or no driver's license on person, failure to have [ More ]

Willie YoungJul 27 12:32a

Chicago Bears DE Willie Young (quadriceps) left practice early Saturday, July 26, because of a sore quadriceps, according to head coach Marc Trestman.

Quentin GrovesJul 27 12:12a

The Houston Texans will sign free-agent LB Quentin Groves (Browns).

Lawrence SidburyJul 27 12:12a

Updating a previous report, the Houston Texans have signed free-agent LB Lawrence Sidbury (Colts). Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Andre JohnsonJul 27 12:02a

Houston Texans WR Andre Johnson said he will be moved around to different spots in head coach Bill O'Brien's offensive system.

Brian HoyerJul 27 12:02a

Cleveland Browns QB Brian Hoyer (knee) said he will wear a brace on his surgically repaired knee during the entire season. He said he does not believe it will affect his play much.

Cam ThomasJul 26 11:42p

Pittsburgh Steelers DEs Cam Thomas, Brian Arnfelt and Stephon Tuitt all received snaps at left defensive end with the first-team defense during practice Saturday, July 26.

Ben GardnerJul 26 11:12p

Dallas Cowboys DE Ben Gardner (shoulder) suffered a shoulder injury during practice Saturday, July 26, and is scheduled to undergo an MRI.

Mike NealJul 26 11:02p

Green Bay Packers LB Mike Neal (abdomen) and Nick Perry (foot, knee) is close to coming off the Physically Unable to Perform list and participating in practice, according to head coach Mike McCarthy.

Lawrence SidburyJul 26 10:22p

The Houston Texans are expected to sign free-agent LB Lawrence Sidbury (Colts), according to a source.

Tim FuggerJul 26 10:12p

New York Jets WR Quincy Enunwa (hip) and LB Tim Fugger (ankle) did not participate in practice Saturday, July 26.

K. ThompkinsJul 26 10:02p

New England Patriots WR Kenbrell Thompkins (undisclosed) was not able to finish practice Saturday, July 26, after he slid on the ground during the later portions of practice. The [ More ]

Tommy KellyJul 26 10:02p

New England Patriots DT Tommy Kelly (knee) participated in some of the team's walkthrough Saturday, July 26, and has been activated from the Physically Unable to Perform list.

Vince WilforkJul 26 10:02p

New England Patriots DT Vince Wilfork (Achilles') said his surgically repaired Achilles' tendon responded well during one-on-one rush drills during practice Saturday, July 26.

Tyler GaffneyJul 26 09:02p

Carolina Panthers RB Tyler Gaffney (knee) will miss the entire 2014 season because of a torn lateral meniscus in his knee.

Jimmy StatenJul 26 08:32p

Seattle Seahawks OG Nate Isles (hand) suffered a left hand injury during practice Saturday, July 26, while DT Jimmy Staten suffered a leg injury.

Phillip TannerJul 26 07:32p

Free-agent RB William Powell (Eagles), RB Orwin Smith (Packers) and Phillip Tanner (Cowboys) worked out for the Seattle Seahawks Saturday, July 26.

Rokevious WatkinsJul 26 06:52p

The Kansas City Chiefs waived OG Rokevious Watkins (back) with the non-football injury designation.

Alex OkaforJul 26 06:32p

Arizona Cardinals OLB Alex Okafor is filling in for OLB John Abraham (personal) as the starting weakside linebacker.

Mark AsperJul 26 06:12p

The Buffalo Bills released OG Mark Asper.

Tony MoeakiJul 26 06:12p

Buffalo Bills TE Tony Moeaki (hamstring) will be out a significant amount of time with a hamstring injury. TE Chris Gragg (dehydration) is expected back by next week.

Aaron RossJul 26 06:12p

Baltimore Ravens CB Aaron Ross (Achilles') was placed on Injured Reserve with a torn Achilles'.

Dominique JonesJul 26 06:02p

The Buffalo Bills signed free-agent TE Dominique Jones (Chiefs) to an undisclosed deal.

B. RoethlisbergerJul 26 05:42p

Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger concentrated on strengthening his throwing arm in the offseason and said it is the strongest it has been in his career. He also worked [ More ]

Bobby RaineyJul 26 05:42p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Mike James is working with the second-team offense Saturday, July 26. It's still early, and Bobby Rainey could still figure into the mix at the [ More ]

Sean McGrathJul 26 04:32p

Kansas City Chiefs TE Sean McGrath has decided to retire, according to head coach Andy Reid.

Devon StillJul 26 03:52p

Cincinnati Bengals DT Devon Still (back) has been cleared to practice. Still was listed on the physically unable to perform list at the start of training camp.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group