By Ashley Scoby
@AshleyScoby

Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford joked on Tuesday about how many fans come up to him in Detroit to tell him they’re one of his “few” remaining supporters.

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“I’m glad that there’s a couple out there,” he laughed. “I’m not sure that’s a compliment or not, them trying to point themselves out as being a big fan or just putting shame on everyone else.”

Regardless of how many Stafford fans remain in Detroit, there is at least one in Philadelphia, in Eagles head coach Chip Kelly. During Kelly’s conference call with reporters Tuesday, the former Oregon head coach was extremely complimentary of the seventh-year player.

“I know Matt well,” Kelly said. “He’s an extremely talented quarterback who can make every throw. … He’s in the conversation for the strongest arm in the league. He can fit the ball in really, really tight windows. I think he’s accurate. I also think he’s tough.”

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Stafford had a rough start to the season, and is still on pace to have the worst year of his career, interceptions-wise (he has 12). But the Lions had one of their most consistent games last week against the Raiders, and Stafford was a part of that. He went 22-of-35 for 282 yards (and zero interceptions), plus six rushes for 31 yards and a score.

The number-one pick of the 2009 draft, Stafford came in with lofty expectations, as did the Eagles’ two current quarterbacks – Mark Sanchez (fifth overall in 2009) and Sam Bradford (first overall in 2010). Both quarterbacks have bounced around the league, and Bradford especially has dealt with serious injuries nearly his whole career.

Although Kelly professed his belief in both of his own quarterbacks, he also had plenty of good things to say about the guy his team will face this week on Thanksgiving. Stafford’s toughness, in particular, is what stood out (and it’s been on display plenty this year, thanks to the struggles of the offensive line).

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“Matt gets hit and just stands in there and takes a pounding,” Kelly said. “I don’t think people appreciate the toughness and what it takes to play quarterback in this league. But when you watch film you really admire how he stands in the pocket and delivers the ball on time despite a rush coming on him. So I don’t think he’s a guy you can rattle. I think we’ve got our hands full with Matt.”