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Detroit Lions backup QB Tom Savage may have stronger arm than Matthew Stafford

For the first time since the Detroit Lions drafted Matthew Stafford, the team could have a quarterback with arm strength that equals — or perhaps surpasses — that of the NFL’s No. 1 overall draft pick in 2009.

Tom Savage signed this offseason to compete for the job as Stafford’s backup and during organized team activities, the Houston Texans fourth-round pick has shown off his cannon of an arm.

But just how far can Savage throw the football?

“I’d probably say on a good day, indoors, with the fan to my back, maybe 75 (yards),” he said Thursday after practice. “I don’t know.”

More: Matthew Stafford still has 'rare' arm talent 10 years in

Savage made several big throws Thursday. Not all were caught, but they almost all found their mark.

“I think it’s just been a big part of knowing you’re able to do it,” Savage said of his power. “I think that’s just the confidence that hey, this guy’s never going to — well, I shouldn’t say that — not out run me but just knowing that you can push the ball down the field if need be.


“I mean, you guys see. How many times are you really throwing the ball 75 yards down the field? Very few, but if you ever needed to do it, it’s always fun.”

Would Savage ever be interested in having a friendly throwing competition with Stafford?

“No!” he said with a smile. “That’s not what you do to a QB1. We don’t do that yet.”

Stafford might not be opposed to having some fun. He and past backups Drew Stanton and Shaun Hill used to have a prepractice competition to see who could hit the crossbar of the goal post from 50 yards.


“Yeah, (they’re) older than him, though,” Savage said. “I’m younger than him.”

The age difference between Savage, 29, and Stafford, 31, will always be etched in Savage’s mind because of one event.

“He was actually my host on my Georgia visit,” Savage said. “I took an official visit to Georgia.

“He didn’t do a good job because I didn’t commit.”

Savage decided to sign with Rutgers in 2009, where he played for Greg Schiano.

As strong as Savage’s arm might be, he also has shown good accuracy, both from the pocket and while rolling out.

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“But I think just the most important thing is an accurate quarterback,” Savage said. “I think arm strength is pretty overrated. But the ability to do it is comforting.”

And if a throwing competition could be proposed by Stafford, would Savage accept?

“I’m not looking forward to it,” he said. “The guy’s got a cannon.”



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