I'm sure you've all heard that not only is Daunte Culpepper signed, but that he will likely be starting Sunday. Also, the game is going to be blacked out. (Thanks to NetRat, as soon as I get some time I'll be able to watch the Washington game. Guess potatoes have eyes after all... Thanks Net!)
I will, of course, be unable to watch the Jags game, but I did happen to catch the entirety of the Lions-Bears game as it unfolded.
I do have a few observations from that:
Dan Orlovsky may be "injured like Kitna" and headed for IR (poor Dan O) but I think he proved one very important thing in his stint as the Lions starting QB: He isn't going to carry a team on his shoulders, and is not going to be a top-tier starter, but he is a very solid backup QB who can come in and keep your team in the game for a few weeks if your starter is injured. The TD's to CJ and McDonald were perfect passes -- the INT's, not so much. On the whole, serviceable though -- and if the Lions were as intense in the second half as they were in the first, they could have won that game.
As usual, there were just too many mistakes by the Lions that let the Bears hang around, and regain momentum. The missed XP, the INT at the goal line, the INT on the short field (which the defense kept to a FG -- which was nice work by them.)
I was still appalled at how the Lions were able to stop the Bears in fits and starts in the first half, and then let down when Rex Grossman came into the game, and immediately folded after the TD. The defense has no backbone still.
The young guys looked pretty decent that were playing -- Smith provided such a spark for the offense, it baffles me as to why they kept putting Rudi back into the game. Nothing this coaching staff does anymore seems to make any sense. They are like the person who, knowing he is not succeeding, tries anything and everything he can think of -- usually right as it pops into his head -- without thinking it through properly.
As for Culpepper over Stanton this Sunday... Listen, I went to Northern Michigan University, so I'm not an MSU homer -- but hear me out on this. I know Stanton is essentially a rookie. But he was at camp - twice. he played some in the preseason. he was a second round draft choice. Now, I know the Lions' offense is pretty simple -- but FOUR DAYS of practice for a QB who looked awful his last 3 seasons and has been out of football for almost a year starting over him? I don't care if you don't think he's polished enough, or totally ready -- you're telling me the guy with 4 days will be MORE ready?
I have great respect for how Culpepper played in the Moss days; and yes -- if he plays like that, Culpepper to CJ would be great. But Stanton is a totally unknown quantity, and lets face it -- I do NOT trust anymore the ability of this staff to judge talent in games based on practice. This is a great time to throw Stanton in against Jax with Dan O out -- get Stanton first team reps while Culpepper eases into it. If Stanton looks awful -- well, he was just starting til Culpepper is up to speed and Dan O is healthy. If he is OK -- then they can stick with him, or send it to see what Culpepper can do after having a couple of weeks to get acclimated. If he is great, then awesome -- they can ride the train til it goes off the tracks. If Culpepper plays unprepared and stinks up the joint -- then where do you go?
So while he may not be totally ready, it won't kill and starting Stanton makes the most logical sense. Just proves there is a Logic-draining device hidden somewhere at Allen Park. The bafflement continues!
Other than the observations above, not a whole lot to say about Chicago. Smith should have been in running out the clock earlier -- they should have been, with a 23-20 lead, running on 3rd and 9 and getting set up for a FG so that the Bears needed a TD to get ahead -- and yet still allow the Lions to kick a FG as time expires (which they got in position to do quite easily - it was the end zone that was elusive) instead of heave-ho's into the end zone on hope. Oh, and about 2 inches higher and CJ comes down with the game winning TD.
While the first few games were atrocious, at this point it is the little things. But little things quickly add up into big things very quickly -- and the Lions have enough little things wrong to have big problems -- on offense and defense.
Still, overall it was an exciting game to watch and even though the Lions didn't pull out the win -- at least it was good football to watch. Now, if only those of us in the blackout zone could see them beat Jax this week. Hey, two other pathetic teams (KC and Cincy) managed to do it -- why not the Lions too?
Dallas side note -- they are still headed for about an 8-8 record at this point, and a mid-round pick --- but Romo is supposed to be back, so they may actually pass more than 3 yards at a time again.
This weeks Mantra: Re-Break is finger Jessica! (Dallas in on their bye, and thus can't lose to increase the value of the Roy Williams trade. Next week...)
BTW - haven't seen any other news outlets pick up the signing of Mr. Potato Head. Guess I'm not good at starting rumors, huh?