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The Culpepper Experiment - Classified...

By Imperical Evidence

Authors disclaimer:
Beacuse of the length and content of the following article there may be several side effects. Some of these side effects may be severe but in most cases are mild to moderate.
If one reads this whole article, the side effects are:

mild depression
severe depression
social isolation

These side effects will not effect all readers. If you experience any of these side effects you do not have to see a doctor , this is the last game of the season for the Detroit Lions. If you experience a combination of severe depression, rage, and social isolation, I would reccomend that the destruction of any furniture next season during Lions games happen before Christmas. Have your Christmas list ready and hand it out to all relatives.

At the beginning of the 2008 season there was hope for Lions fans. Some might say there was more hope than fans have had since the time of Barry Sanders. The Lions were coming off a 7 and 9 season in 2007 , one in which they started out 6 and 2. Mike Martz , offensive coordinator , had caused some problems with the way he wanted control of the team and was let go. Jim Colletto had assumed control over the offensive play calling.

Jon Kitna was going into his third year as a Lion , having passed for over 4,000 yards in each of his first two years in Detroit. He lead the Lions to the 6th best passing offense in 2006 and was named a pro-bowl alternate. In 2007 Kitna didn't slow down much and the Lions had the 9th best passing offense in the NFL. Under the direction of Colletto in
2008 , the offense sputtered badly. Kitna injured his back early in the season but still wanted to play. Jim Colletto and Rod Moronelli decided that the best course of action was to put Kitna on injured reserve for the rest of the season very shortly after the 4th game of the 2008 season. Matt Millen received what had long been coming to him, and no I don't mean another contract extension. He was fired.

The other quarterbacks had to step up with Jon Kitna on IR for the year, it was time to find out what they had. They were Dan Orslovsky and Drew Stanton. Orslovsky had received much of the playing time in pre season and Colletto went with him. Stanton sat and waited. In his fourth start at quarterback, the Lions eighth game of 2009, Orslovsky injured his throwing hand in the first quarter. He still finished the game. The media
raised its voice in the calls for Drew Stanton to start. They weren't heard. This was the loss to the Bears on November 2nd.

This is the beginning of the Culpepper experiment.

Culpepper was brought in for a workout before the Bears game and returned to Detroit after the Bears game. All indications from Colletto and Moronelli were that Culpepper would start the next game. He did. The Lions lost the next 4 games with Culpepper at the helm and the calls for Drew Stanton to start got louder. Dan Orslovsky was put back in as
the starter for the remainder of the season. Stanton did get a little playing time coming off the bench as a back-up, but not very much.
Culpepper weighed 292 pounds in his first start with the Lions. He was in no shape to even play in my opinion. Martin Mayhew was looking for a spark and he thought Culpepper was it.

This was the first chapter in 'The Culpepper Experiment'.

Immediately after the season came to a close William Clay Ford gave Rod Moronelli the axe and made Martin Mayhew the Lions General Manager. Many fans were lead to believe the Lions would look long and hard to find a new GM. Ford took the easy way out and promoted from within. Martin Mayhew was the very first person hired by Matt Millen when Millen got
the job as GM. During the off season 2 league sources told Tom Kowalski, Lions insider, that indeed Mayhew wanted to bring in Culpepper before the start of the 2008 season and Millen refused. There was a heated discussion. We all now know that Mayhew got his man.

Dan Orslovsky was at the end of his contract. The Lions claimed to want him back and did make an offer. Orslovsky decided to test the waters of free agency. He was signed by the Texans as a back-up quarterback. Orslovsky also indicated that Daunte Culpepper had been promised the starting job. Orslovsky had played much better than Culpepper and had every right to be upset.

Jon Kitna was traded to the Cowboys for cornerback Anthony Henry. Kitna was entering his fourth year as a Lion and would have made about $2.5 million. Now the Cowboys have him at that price.

Many fans thought that the Culpepper Experiment should come to an end before the start of the 2009 season. Daunte Culpepper was due to make $5 million in his second year in Detroit with only 4 horrible starts as the reason for that contract. The Lions did make him restructure his contract, pushing back the roster bonus deadline. The Lions also drafted Matthew Stafford #1 overall in the NFL draft. I still thought Culpepper would be
the starter heading into the 2009 season. He played better than Stafford in the pre season(Not much) and had a history of an attitude problem if he wasn't starting. The Lions also had a new offensive coordinator - Scott Linehan. I think Linehan was brought in to get the best out of Daunte Culpepper. Culpepper had his best days with Linehan as
the ofensive coordinator with the Vikings.

Enter the 2009 season.Stafford is made the starting quarterback despite the fact that the Lions had done nothing to improve their horrible offensive line , one that had given up over 50 sacks three years running. Matthew Stafford did lead the Lions to their first win in 2009 against the Redskins, on September 27th. Stafford suffered a knee injury in the fourth game of the season against the Bears when he was sacked in the fourth quarter.

Culpepper got his first start of the season the next week against the Steelers. Another loss.

Culpepper also started the following week against the Packers. Another loss.

After a bye week Stafford was back in the starting role. 4 games later he was injured again while playing against the Browns. This injury was different and may define his career as a Lion. On the last play of the game Stafford was sacked and dislocated his shoulder. A penalty call on the Browns with no time left meant the Lions had another shot to win the game. They sent Culpepper in, Stafford was laying on the ground on the
sideline. The Browns called time-out and Stafford got up with help from the trainers and went back into the game and threw the game winning touchdown.

The rest of this season can all be blended together. Culpepper has a few more starts and dosen't win. Drew Stanton gets a start and looks bad in another loss.

That brings us to today Lions fans. I expect to see an ugly game. I expect Daunte Culpepper to get another start against the Bears. I also expect that finally this will be the last game us Lions fans have to see Daunte Culpepper as a Lion. The Experiment is coming to a close at long last. I also think Scott Linehan may get replaced with a new offensive coordinator. Maybe. I wouldn't be surprised there.

One thing is now certain:
The Lions are going to be in the market for at least one quarterback after the season ends. This could have been avoided but Martin Mayhew had to see his experiment through to the end.

1 comment:

  1. It will be great to watch Detroit Lions, i have bought tickets from looking forward to it.