AAAA Matthew StaffordWide receiver Golden Tate knows what the Detroit Lions have in quarterback Matthew Stafford.

Stafford does more than make the plays necessary to help the Lions win their last three games to improve their record to 4-3 entering Sunday’s game against the Houston Texans.

‘We love him and we know that he can do just about anything’

“When Stafford steps on that field, he’s a silent killer,” Tate told Howard Balzer and Gil Brandt on Late Hits. “But his confidence, you can definitely see it. We trust him, we love him and we know that he can do just about anything. And, on top of that, he’s a tough player.”

Matthew and the rest of the Lions’ offense have the benefit of having Jim Bob Cooter as the their offensive coordinator.

‘We can do every single play from the line of scrimmage’

“I think one of the greatest things about our offense is we can get to every single play from the line of scrimmage,” Tate said. “And that’s special. It allows us to play fast, tire out defenses and just make plays. I think another good thing about Jim Bob is that the standard he holds us to is very high. It doesn’t matter if you’re a guy like (running back Justin) Forsett who has been in here for not even a week or a guy who has been for five or six years. He holds us to a very, very high standard and we want to reach that every single day.

“We have so many playmakers. And one word can get us into the same play and one word can get us into whatever formation we want to be in. And that’s special. When you have guys like myself, (receiver) Marvin (Jones), (running backs) Theo Riddick, Ameer Abdullah, when he was healthy, (tight end) Eric Ebron just to be able to do anything from the line of scrimmage, create matchups that you want, that’s special. I think that’s something that Stafford likes to do. And it’s been working out.”

 

Del Rio: Raiders must thrive ‘regardless of conditions’

Jack Del Rio

For Jack Del Rio, the goal is to keep everything as normal as possible for his Oakland Raiders.

It’s also to do everything he can to have his players maintain the right attitude.

‘Guys are doing a great job of embracing the message’

Del Rio thinks he has both covered by keeping the Raiders in Florida after last Sunday’s victory against the Jacksonville Jaguars. This week, they’ve been training in Bradenton in preparation for this Sunday’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Raiders’ 5-2 record would seem to indicate the approach is agreeing with the players.

‘Creating the same work week in a different environment’

“The guys are doing a great job kind of embracing the message and kind of carrying the torch, so to speak, in the locker room and we’ve got a really healthy process under way,” Del Rio told Bruce Murray and Brady Quinn on the SiriusXM Blitz. “It really doesn’t change the structure of our week. The biggest thing is we won’t have to fly back and then back and forth, really three trips on your team — two prior to this game, then one after. So we avoided that. We’re basically creating the same work week in a different environment, different setting.

“Guys have just embraced the idea of putting their best foot forward and going out and competing no matter where we are. So, regardless of conditions, regardless of the weather, regardless of the opponent — all the circumstances, whether you’re playing an early game, a late game, all that stuff, are you excited to play the game?”

 

Pereira says NFL will add eighth official to each crew in April

The NFL is going to take a page from college football and add an eighth official to each crew during the offseason, according to Mike Pereira, the league’s former head of officiating.

It is an idea that Pereira fought against when he was in charge of the NFL officials, and he doesn’t like it any better now.

‘I’m against an eighth official’

Rather than add an eighth official, he thinks the smarter move would be to make referees full-time.

“When April rolls around next year, you’re going to see that the NFL is going to go to eight officials,” Pereira told Bruce Murray and Brady Quinn on the SiriusXM Blitz. “They’re going to add another guy deep. It’s not really for pass interference. A lot of it has to do with defensive line play that basically doesn’t get any coverage now because the umpire, from his old traditional position, is on the offensive side. But (Los Angeles Rams coach) Jeff Fisher was the one who kept harping on this: ‘We need an eighth official downfield.’ And I would say, ‘For what? Com on.’

‘Seven’s the perfect number’

“I’m against the eighth official, even though they have it in college. Seven’s the perfect number because you have five eligible receivers in a no-back set and every one of them is covered by the five officials, that’s three deeps and two on the line. And in officiating mantra, when you talk about the passing game, it’s like ‘man,’ ‘zone,’ ‘ball.’ So the ball’s snapped, each of those five guys has a player. They run their routes and it switches, you’d go into a zone and you cover the guy that comes into your zone. And then, when the ball goes into the air, everybody goes ball. Technically, you’ve got five guys already with an opinion. So what do we want? Six? Is this going to make things better to have a sixth opinion? I don’t think it does.”

In Pereira’s view, officiating would be much better served with referees becoming full-time NFL employees.

‘Referees are the leaders of the crew’

“I’ve said this before and I’ll say it a thousand times: Instead of having an eighth official, how about having there referees full-time?” he said. “How about making the 27 referees full-time, so that they can work together at an institute during the week during the season, look at all the plays together so consistent messages go out to the crews. They’re the leaders of the crew, they’re the ones that conduct the meetings. If you’re serious about taking that next step to make things somewhat better, then I think you’re going to get more return for your money by doing that than if you are adding an eighth official.

“And I would say that part of the issues in officiating is all of the turnover in the last three or four years because it takes time to adapt to the speed of the league. Now, next year you’re going to have 17 new officials that are going to come in and then you’re going to have three or four retirements, so 21-22 new officials. They’re not out there. To me, there’s not 22 out there that are ready to step in and perform at this level.”

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