Matthew Stafford makes grand prediction

For the Detroit Lions to make the kind of ambitious progress they believe is possible this season, the first thing it’s going to take is some durability from Matthew Stafford.

The No. 1 overall pick in 2009 has had difficulty staying on the field and missed most of last season with a separated right shoulder that eventually required surgery and led teammate Zack Follett to label him a “china doll.”

Stafford is healthy and ready to go when the labor situation is finally resolved. And he’s thinking big, or at least that’s what he told NFL.com.

I’m going to play all 16 (games),” Stafford predicted.

That would represent three more games than he played in his first two seasons combined. It would give the Lions just what they’re looking for, just what they need.

“I won’t alter my playing style at all,” Stafford said. “Injuries happen, that’s part of the game. But as far as mental hurdles go, I feel great right now. I’m sure the first hit, when I get up from it and feel great, will bring a lot of confidence to me and I’ll get the ball rolling from there.”

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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