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Can Matthew Stafford continue his late 2015 pace into 2016?

ALLEN PARK, Mich. – The Detroit Lions open training camp on July 28 in Allen Park, Michigan and, like every team in the NFL, there are questions.

While we won’t know the answers to whether the Lions will be contenders or not until the end of September at the earliest, the roster as it is constructed now could give some clues. And that’s how we’ll view the Lions as we preview them by position for training camp, starting today with the quarterbacks.

What the Lions have: Matthew Stafford (starter); Dan Orlovsky, Jake Rudock.

What they might still need: At this point, the Lions are set at the position. Detroit will carry two or three quarterbacks this season.

Likely roster spots: Two or three

What to expect in camp: Stafford will take almost all – if not all – of the No. 1 reps. Orlovsky will have most of the No. 2 reps early, but don’t be surprised if Rudock cuts into that at some point so the Lions can figure out what they have in the former Michigan and Iowa quarterback. The backup quarterback battle will be one to watch throughout camp.

Reason to believe: If you like what you saw out of Stafford the last eight games of the 2016 season – when he completed 70 percent of his passes (205 of 293) and won 75 percent of his games. He also threw 19 touchdowns with only two interceptions and a passer rating of 110.1. If Stafford can take that rhythm and continue it for a full season (or even most of it) in 2016, then the Lions have a chance to be pretty good. It will also likely mean Stafford has cemented himself as the quarterback of the future in Detroit and will potentially get a lucrative contract extension next offseason.

Be concerned because: Stafford has rarely shown the consistency he did during the last eight games of last season. Yes, it was under a different offensive coordinator, but Stafford had his issues during the first half of the season, when he completed only 64.5 percent of his passes (still good for him) and threw 13 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. The Lions need Stafford to start hot in 2016 because it would give the entire offense, including Cooter, more confidence. Of course, if Stafford were to be injured, concern level should be exceedingly high because Orlovsky is a quarterback that can get you out of a game but isn’t necessarily a long-term solution. And Rudock is a rookie who is still grasping everything.