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Kicking it with Matthew Stafford, Part 2

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

ATHENS, Ga. -- Here's Part 2 of my Q&A with Matthew Stafford, who will almost certainly have a decision to make following this season on whether to make himself available for the NFL draft. Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer, who saw Stafford in the EA Sports Elite 11 quarterback camp, is a big Stafford fan. He recently told Cincinnati-based blogger C. Trent Rosecrans, "He's good. He's really good. Georgia might win it because of him. He's going to come out after this year and be the top pick in the draft. I said it first." A pretty strong endorsement from a guy who knows a thing or two about playing quarterback.

Given all the trouble off the field this offseason, are you concerned about the focus of this team?

Matthew Stafford: I talked to the guys last night and told them, 'From here on out, it's just football 24-7.' We're locked up in the dorm and the hotel now, and it's 100 percent X's and O's all the time, and we're out there working hard. Everybody was on the same page when we talked about it. We had a walk-through this morning, and it was the same thing.

Is there any way some of these things that plagued the team during the offseason could creep onto the field during the season?

MS: Once we realize how much work we've got to do and that we've got a heck of a schedule and that we've got a bunch of teams coming after us, that's the only thing that's going to matter. What's happened up to this point doesn't matter.

If you could pay to watch three other guys play in the SEC not on your team, who would they be?

MS: I'd put Percy [Harvin] and [Tim] Tebow together. That's a good one. Jasper Brinkley from South Carolina's a player and then probably LSU's whole defense. Eric Berry at Tennessee is a good player, too. I won't have to pay to watch any of those guys. I'll get to see them all up close.

How much better did the team get during the second half of last season, or was it just a case of guys maturing?

MS: We definitely did get a lot better, and the fact that guys did grow up made us better. We've got a lot of momentum coming into this season and realize that if we play with that kind of energy and execution at the same time, this should be a lot of fun.

Your stock with NFL people is off the charts. How difficult is it to block that out, knowing you could be a top 5 pick if you come out this season?

MS: I totally block that out. There's a whole lot of time between now and then. What I'm worried about right now is Georgia football and trying to get this team ready to play and get us going.