Veteran Detroit Lions wide receiver Nate Burleson doesn’t pretend to be anything he is not, including a quarterbacks coach.
But he knows a little about Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford after playing with him for three seasons.
“I hear everything that everybody says about the way he throws, his mechanics, his footwork,’’ Burleson said on the NFL Network on Tuesday.
“I can tell you this, there are throws he makes that nobody else can make, that’s why he’s in the position he is.’’
Like every athlete at every position, Burleson expects Stafford to work on his weaknesses during the off-season even though Burleson couldn’t tell you exactly what those are.
“He needs to take that next step. In my eyes he’s a really good quarterback, I’m waiting for him to take that elite step. He has the capability of doing that,’’ Burleson said.
“I’m excited for next year because he’s young — because he was thrown into the fire they expect so much of him and he’s overachieved a lot since he came back from his early injuries.
“Two 5,000-yard seasons is hard to do, granted you’ve got Calvin (Johnson). He’s came back and proved he can be that guy. I want him to be elite, I think a lot of people do. That’s a lot of pressure on him that’s why you get paid the big bucks,’’ Burleson added.
Stafford threw for 5,038 yards in 2011, enough for a 10-6 record and a trip to the playoffs. He followed that up with 4,967 in 2012 when the Lions finished 4-12.
He’s been criticized for his footwork and for throwing sidearm. Brett Favre threw sidearm as did many other NFL quarterbacks. The Lions are not concerned about his mechanics. General manager Martin Mayhew said he thought Stafford was phenomenal in 2011 and solid in 2012 and he doesn’t have a concern.