2013 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

Aldon SmithApr 17 09:32p

The San Francisco 49ers do not plan on releasing LB Aldon Smith this offseason. Smith is expected to be suspended at the beginning of the season, but the length [ More ]

Chris JohnsonApr 17 08:52p

New York Jets RB Chris Johnson (knee) said he expects to receive medical clearance to resume football activities in the near future. He underwent knee surgery in January but [ More ]

Sebastian VollmerApr 17 08:42p

New England Patriots OG Logan Mankins said OT Sebastian Vollmer (leg) has looked good this offseason while he recovers from the broken leg he suffered during the 2013 season.

Chris SneeApr 17 07:32p

New York Giants OG Chris Snee (hip, elbow) is expected to participate when offseason workouts begin next week even though he is not 100 percent.

Rolando McClainApr 17 06:02p

The Baltimore Ravens reinstated LB Rolando McClain from the reserve/retired list Thursday, April 17.

Russell AllenApr 17 05:02p

The Jacksonville Jaguars released LB Russell Allen, WR Jabin Sambrano and DEs Will Pericak and D'Aundre Reed Thursday, April 17.

Chad JohnsonApr 17 02:22p

Free-agent WR Chad Johnson (Patriots) signed with the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League Thursday, April 17.

Brian CushingApr 17 01:32p

Houston Texans LB Brian Cushing (knee) was medically cleared Thursday, April 17.

LaMichael JamesApr 17 10:04a

According to a league source, the San Francisco 49ers have been shopping RB LaMichael James. He finds himself behind RBs Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter and perhaps Marcus Lattimore on [ More ]

Mike BrownApr 16 11:33p

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Mike Brown signed his exclusive-rights free agent deal Wednesday, April 16.

Eli ManningApr 16 11:33p

Former New York Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride said in a radio interview this week that it is 'ludicrous' to say QB Eli Manning is declining. 'There's been no [ More ]

Sidney RiceApr 16 08:03p

The Seattle Seahawks are re-signing WR Sidney Rice to an undisclosed one-year deal Wednesday, April 16, according to sources.

Dwayne BoweApr 16 07:03p

Kansas City Chiefs WR Dwayne Bowe pleaded guilty Wednesday, April 16, after being arrested last November for marijuana possession. He pleaded guilty to lesser charges of littering and defective [ More ]

Arian FosterApr 16 04:53p

The Houston Texans may consider selecting a running back during the middle rounds of the 2014 NFL Draft that could become RB Arian Foster's backup in the future.

Chris JohnsonApr 16 04:43p

The New York Jets signed RB Chris Johnson to a two-year deal worth $8 million, with another $1 million in incentives available.

Terrelle PryorApr 16 04:33p

The Oakland Raiders hope to trade QB Terrelle Pryor before the start of the offseason program Monday, April 21.

Clay MatthewsApr 16 04:13p

Green Bay Packers LB Clay Matthews (thumb) said he likely will be limited during offseason workouts because of his surgically repaired thumb.

Chris JohnsonApr 16 03:53p

The New York Jets will use RBs Chris Johnson and Chris Ivory as a tandem this upcoming season and have them split carries. RB Bilal Powell will be the team's No. 3 running back.

Dan SkutaApr 16 03:33p

San Francisco 49ers LB Dan Skuta (foot) is not expected to need surgery on the foot injury that bothered him during the 2013 season. Skuta met with a foot [ More ]

Gus BradleyApr 16 02:53p

Jacksonville Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell and head coach Gus Bradley watched Georgia QB Aaron Murray participate in his pro day Wednesday, April 16.

Reggie BushApr 16 02:13p

Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi said RBs Reggie Bush and Joique Bell likely will receive similar workloads this upcoming season than they did during the 2013 season. Bush [ More ]

Cheta OzougwuApr 16 01:53p

The Chicago Bears have waived DE Cheta Ozougwu.

Mike JamesApr 16 12:53p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Mike James (ankle) said he is happy with the progress he has made in his recovery from an ankle injury and that he has been [ More ]

Carson PalmerApr 16 12:43p

Arizona Cardinals QB Carson Palmer said he would understand if the team selects a quarterback during the 2014 NFL Draft, because he knows the team has to think about [ More ]

Josh FreemanApr 16 12:23p

The New York Giants have agreed to terms with free-agent QB Josh Freeman (Vikings). Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Rolando McClainApr 16 12:13p

Updating previous reports, retired LB Rolando McClain failed his conditioning tests during his workout with the Baltimore Ravens. The test consisted of six timed 150-yard runs.

Golden TateApr 16 10:53a

Detroit Lions WR Golden Tate said he thinks he can be a 'more explosive Lance Moore,' referring to the former New Orleans Saints receiver. Moore caught 65 passes for [ More ]

Matt FlynnApr 16 10:01a

Green Bay Packers QB Matt Flynn is expected to compete with QB Scott Tolzien for the backup quarterback job, but head coach Mike McCarthy anticipates keeping three QBs on [ More ]

Rolando McClainApr 16 12:03a

Retired LB Rolando McClain (Ravens) worked out for the Baltimore Ravens Tuesday, April 15, as he attempts a comeback. The workout wasn't a smooth one in terms of conditioning, [ More ]

Chris JohnsonApr 16 12:03a

The New York Jets are sticking to their budget/value system. While they want free-agent RB Chris Johnson (Titans), they will not 'overpay' for him. The depressed running back market [ More ]

Aldon SmithApr 16 12:03a

San Francisco 49ers LB Aldon Smith hasn't only lost the benefit of the doubt with the team, but he probably won't play with the team in 2014, according to [ More ]

Malcom FloydApr 15 11:53p

San Diego Chargers WR Malcom Floyd (neck) continues his rehab from a neck injury, but his status is still uncertain. When the team begins voluntary workouts April 22, Floyd [ More ]

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