Many believe that Matthew Stafford will need to improve his accuracy and consistency to lead the talented Detroit Lions into the upper echelon in the NFL.
He should also consider, according to Hall of Famer and ESPN analyst Mike Ditka, changing the direction of his hat.
The 74-year-old Ditka told Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press that Stafford has all the physical tools required of an elite quarterback, but the former Chicago Bears head coach said the Lions quarterback needs to improve his attitude.
“I think he can make all the throws," Ditka told Monarrez of Stafford. "He’s a smart kid. I wish he’d put the baseball cap on frontwards instead of backwards all the time.”
In 2013 the Lions had the NFL's sixth-best rushing defense and the sixth most productive offense. Yet they still finished 7-9. Detroit has only made the playoffs once since Stafford joined the team in 2009, and fairly or unfairly, Stafford has taken much of the blame for the team's underperformance.
The top overall pick of the 2009 NFL draft, Stafford has physical assets that have never been in question. Rather Ditka says it's his locker room skills that need polishing.
"If you're the leader of the football team, I think you’ve got to stand up and be that leader, assume that role,” Ditka said. “A lot of it is what you do on the field, certainly. But I think a little of it has to do with appearance, too. You know, respect the game, respect your team. That's all.
“I’m not knocking him. I’m just saying that’s the first thing I would tell him if I inherited him. When you're going to go do an interview, put it on like it’s supposed to be on, not backwards, sidewards, whatever way they put them on anymore."