By Imperical Evidence
Ok , the offensive line has been covered , time to look at your Detroit Lion quarterbacks for the 2009 season!!!
Drafted in 2007 in the second round , #43 overall , his time with the Lions has been a hard road traveled to this point. He didn't play in 2007 , with a sore knee that had fluid build-up. The Lions put him on IR for the year to make room for Calvin Johnson , another 2007 draft pick , that had just signed a contract. In 2008 , many thought Drew might see some playing time. It was soon obvious that the Lions had bigger plans for Dan Orlovsky , who got the majority of the snaps in pre season. Kitna got the second most , and Stanton had 8 passing attempts. He completed 7 of them , and had 0 interceptions. He suffered a shoulder injury in the last game of pre season. During the regular season , Kitna was put on IR after the fourth week , and Orlovsky got the starting job. When Orlovsky injured his throwing hand , many thought Stanton would get a start. Daunte Culpepper was signed by the Lions and started the next game , at 292 pounds. Jim Colletto said he didn't want Stanton to embarass himself. In the first game Culpepper started , he was horrible , and the Lions pulled him. Stanton went in to finish the game , his first NFL playing time. His first pass was a touchdown , and he finished that game 7 for 8 , with no interceptions. Culpepper continued to be the starting quarterback until he was injured , then Orlovsky became the starter again , with a sore throwing hand. This off season , the Lions front office claimed they were looking to add a veteran quarterback to the roster , and many thought that meant the end of Drew Stanton in Detroit. He is still here , and will be the #3 quarterback going into the season.
Stanton dosen't fit the Scott Linehan offense , I think the Lions draft a quarterback in the 2010 draft , after round 4. This will be the developmental QB for the future. If they had drafted 2 QBs this year , Ford Field might have been burned down.
Culpepper was brought in last year in a hurry , and started 5 days after he was signed. Players have said he was promised the starting job , and Martin Mayhew has said he thinks Culpepper is the starting QB going into this year. Culpepper is in the last year of a 2 year contract that pays him almost twice as much as Jon Kitna would have made in his fourth year here. There have been league sources that indicate Martin Mayhew wanted to sign Daunte Culpepper before the 2008 season , but was told no by Matt Millen , the G.M. at that time. I expect Culpepper to start the year as the starting QB for several reasons. Culpepper is now back in shape, and all accounts from the Lions mini camp and OTAs say he looks great and has learned the offense. This is to be expected , he played under Linehan with the Vikings , which is another good indicator that Culpepper will be the starting quarterback.
Daunte Culpepper is on the way out of Detroit , unless he wants to take a back seat to the future QB , Matthew Stafford , and take a pay cut. This is the year for him to show other teams what he has left. The Lions trade for or sign in free agency a veteran quarterback next year.
The number 1 pick overall in the 2009 draft , Stafford also has the biggest guaranteed contract in NFL history. More guaranteed money than Albert Haynesworth was given by the Redskins. So , when will Stafford be ready to start?
The reasons Stafford will start are not all up to him and how he plays.
By all accounts , Matthew Stafford is playing very well and the coaches are inpressed. He is picking up the offense at a fast pace. He fits a Linehan offense very well , and can put the ball down the field with the best QBs in the NFL.
He will not start in week one , or even week two , as Tom Kowalski has predicted in a recent article on Mlive.
Matthew Stafford will start in week 8 , after the bye week , against the Rams at Ford Field.
Ok , I have looked at the offensive line , and that factors in here. 4 of 5 starters are returning from a line that has given up over 50 sacks for the last three years in a row. The left guard might be a new player. The coaching Staff is new , and so is the offensive scheme. That also means a new blocking scheme. This offensive line will take time to play as a unit , to gel. Stafford and his contract don't start until that happens. As I stated earlier , I think Daunte Culpepper starts the season. Stafford might start earlier if Culpepper struggles or gets injured. After the bye week , the team should be rested , and somewhat healthy.
The week 8 game is a home game for the Lions.
Matthew Stafford is the future of the Lions at quarterback. I think he has all the tools to play very well for this offense , but that will not happen in one year. The Lions still need a few more parts to make everything work , and its a team game. How much time will the fans give him? I think he needs three years at least before any judgements can be made. Terry Bradshaw is the perfect example of a QB drafted #1 , almost getting run out of town , no friends , death threats. We all know what happened in his 4th year. I think Stafford has success before that , maybe even next year.
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