The Lions appear to be letting out a little slack in the leash they put on QB Matthew Stafford last season. It was put in place for good reason initially: The No. 1 overall pick earned the starting job from Week One, and though he had the requisite skills to handle the position, he still was learning how to perform as a pro and gain a rapport with his skill-position players. That process often was rocky, and the Lions were often shorthanded in terms of playmakers. But there have been signs this offseason that the team is ready to allow Stafford to audible more at the line of scrimmage if he identifies mismatches or vulnerable coverages. Although that freedom will be limited somewhat, this is clearly a sign that the team believes Stafford has a rock-solid grasp on the offensive scheme and that there are enough playmakers around him to create favorable matchups to take advantage of.
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