That, of course, is how you explain this July 21, 2008 Article I wrote on the QB situation in Detroit. It's time to look at the 6 QB situations again, and see where Detroit falls this ifseason. (I do realize that I will take a merciless beating for the "and anyone desperate enough to sign Daunte Culpepper" line for category #6...)
To recap the "Situations" teams typically find themselves in regarding Quarterbacks:
1. QB "Controversy": Both of our starters are "close to even", "duking it out", or "equally bad". See: 2008/2009 Cleveland Browns. Typically leads to situation #2 or #3.
2. Mentor and Grasshopper: Veteran starter who is benchwarming or training/mentoring a young QB -- generally a high round draft pick -- to take his place and make him a highly paid backup for a season or two once he loses. If the mentor is fine with getting paid a couple mil for holding a clipboard, usually progresses to situation 3. If not, you get #4. (intentional and still relevant today, sadly enough.)
3. Young executive and experienced Assistant: A young(er) starting QB, or one in his prime backed up by a savvy veteran QB that does more than hold the clipboard. They are good at helping the starter notice trends in the opposing D, eliminate mistakes, and all around help out the team by helping the starting QB get better. They play well enough not to have to run the scout team, but poor enough not to start. They get paid about a million or so a year to play very little football at all, and when they do, typically get to be the "hero" stepping in for the injured starter... Think Charlie Batch in Pittsburgh. It's a good gig, and for those whose egos can handle being "almost" the man, it is perfect -- both for them, and the team.
4. Young Boss, Old guy he got promoted over (or will soon): You took his job -- or, as a high round draft pick were taken to "send a message" or "usher in a new era". He's not too thrilled about it. Sure, he's there to "help" you -- but won't really go out of his way. he might "warm up" to you after a while...maybe... or he might pretend to retire and go "gotcha" a couple months later when he starts to "itch". Or maybe just sit on his couch eating potato chips for a few months until an historically bad team calls up and says "Hey, want another shot -- we figure we can't get any worse..."
5. "The Man"..and the "Invisible Man": sure, you have that treasure of the NFL -- a solid or even all-star starting QB. And backing him up you have...ummm....David Carr....Seneca Wallace...Kolb...Vinny Testaverde...Bueller? See: 2007 Carolina Panthers, 2008 Dallas Cowboys
6. "An Open Competition": Jack shit, and you know it. Figure, at least if they are all "fighting it out" you can put forth the appearance of talent, and pray like hell one works out. See: 2008 and 2009 49ers, 2009 Bucs, any team desperate enough to sign Daunte Culpepper [I just had to leave that in there for comedy's sake. If I don't laugh, I'll cry...]
7. Eliminated unless Raheem Morris suddenly develops a Gruden-Like QB fetish, or Gruden himself returns to coach some team... (Like the 2010 Bengals).
Now that I have updated the categories, where do the Lions fall?? What is your take?? Remember, I love the thoughtful comments, and want your views as well. That is a big part of what this blog is about!
I was not a big "draft Stafford" fan, BUT - it was on general principle, not any inside knowledge. I saw him play on TV once. One game. It was more from the failure rate of underclass QB's combined with the failure rate of highly drafted QB's that scared me.
Despite my fears, it appears heading into Tuesday's full-padded mini-camp that the Lions may be impressed enough with Stafford to go the Peyton Manning route versus the Carson Palmer road. I think that as of now, Detroit is smack-dab in the middle of #2, headed for #4 and then #5.
Daunte wanted to come in, be the man, and get a shot at being the highly touted "franchise QB" he was in Minnesota. Thus far, he hasn't been able to recapture the spark. Maybe that Randy-Ratio of Linehan's wasn't so stupid after all...
Seriously, though, he thought in Detroit he would only have to "hold off" Drew Stanton, and that he would end up starting the season in 2009 at least -- and that even if he were supplanted by a draft pick later, he could maybe hold that off and cash in with another big payday. Stafford's apparent progression could be ruining all that.
A Stafford that doesn't start til after the bye week at the earliest lets Daunte have time to shine up the resume that has tarnished. Stafford starting the season has Daunte in the role of "assistant" in #3 and that is not something he is suited for... (#2 is transitional)...thus leaving the Lions at #4.
If Daunte is too detrimental to team chemistry (assuming he loses the starting QB battle) the team could cut him before his real money kicks in at the beginning of the season, and end up with Drew Stanton backing up Stafford with...umm...well..umm...someone as the 3rd QB. In other words, #5.
Don't get me wrong, all the "problems" are based on Stafford being good enough to start day 1 for a coaching staff intent on sitting him if he didn't cross every t and dot every i in triplicate on the "ready to be a starting NFL QB" test. Still, the depth and chemistry on the team will be dependent on these major things:
1. Does Stafford win the Starting Job?
2. How well does he play/the team do?
3. How does Daunte handle it?
4. How much does Stanton progress? ie will he be a legitimate backup?
Just looking at those 4 questions makes me excited and nervous all at the same time. IF the performance of the Lions QB's in 2009 were a stock, I wouldn't be buying unless I had that money to burn. There are too many IF's with too much downside for my liking on the QB situation this ifseason, which will definitely temper my expectations for the coming season.
What do you think? Am I undervaluing Stafford? Culpepper? Will he play "mentor", or at least "assistant"?