Monday, June 22, 2009

QB's: What was I thinking??

Okay, we all know the excitement and the optimism flow freely here at DetFan1979 as the Ifseason rolls on. I make sure that soon-to-be-trademarked "IF..." with a qualifier is in there, but part of me just wants to believe the best.

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"?


RIP said...

From everything I have read, Daunte came back to football to play. He will not like it if he is second string. Also is history with being with Oakland, and Miami, for one year each could suggest that he has the Kevin Jones mentallity in that if I am on your team, I should be the starter.

Not sure what Daute's motivation for coming back. He maybe talking the talk while his backing account becomes smaller. The way he got into shape, I doubt if that is the case.

My gut feeling is that Daunte will be the starter at the beginning of the season. And he will be a better QB then he was the previous three seasons. If Stafford is to have a mentor, it is going have to come with communications with Linehan, and video from Dante's play. Have not read anything to suggest otherwise.

Now if Stafford keeps improving like the stories I have read, he may very well be the starter on opening day. Linehan's offense should make him a better QB than he was at Georgia. But until the season starts, it is only hopeful thinking.

But back to your original blog, I do not see Daunte as the ideal mentor. He wants to prove the NFL that he a starter, and to do he wants to play.

nubsnobber said...


I have to agree very much with what you're saying.

DAUNTE'S MENTALITY- 1. Yes, he wants to be the starter. He started playing "Glory Days" while working out after Linehan's signing was announced.

I also don' think he's here to share his ball or pad his resume. He wants to cruise his own hand-rolling, "Love Boat cruising" self into the end zone, not teach some pre-pubesent college puke who parties with bulldogs and sororiety girls.

I also feel that the best way to edge a QB into prime time is a series at a time. One series or set, then two or three the following week, until he plays a quarter, a half, and then finally takes over the game. Now that may include pre-season as quickly as Stafford has absorbed the playbook and huddle.

Remember, in the abscense of true leadership, people will walk through the desert and try drinking the sand; they crave it. Kevin Smith is willing to shoulder the load for his young QB. He has picked up the target. It's very admirable to see as we have learned that CJ isn't that guy. Larry Foote isn't that guy, nor J.P. So the Louis Delmas draft pick has been entertaining at best, and may prove to be something the Lions needed and proof the coaching staff knows what they are doing beyond the putrid pundits of talk radio and "freep" chat rooms.

Peter is up to his old tricks. Apparently the article forwarded from our leader was un-read because he's up to his old tricks again. Guessing. Few facts. Poor research. Un-named sources. I know it's a slow time of year, but come on. The de-bunked myth that weights make you slower and bulkier and Rod Marinelli wanted faster is 1970's thinking. Everyone knows that weight lifting helps sprinters just as much as anyone else. Peter King obviously doesn't understand the importance of a weight regiment. And Roy could be "cut" with heredity and good genes; being ripped is all about body fat and we remember Roy's "I Love to Run in the Hot Texas Sun" off-season workouts. But "bulk" comes from weight resistance training, and Roy has bulk. Roy lifts weights. CJ lifts weights. Everyone in today's NFL lifts weights. Phil Zaroo has some nice closing comments as well.

I'm willing to bet that Roy's weight program in Detroit was high reps and low bulk, and that he has switched it up a touch in Dallas. If you look at Dallas' games last year, Roy didn't get a lot of touches, and they didn't get more frequent as the season wore on. T.O. blocks, and is a big physical receiver. He likes to lift weights and has more bulk than Roy. I will bet all these comments stem from Roy wanting to tell his coaching staff in Dallas, that he is lifting harder, heavier weights so they have faith that he can be a good down-field blocker like T.O. ((Sorry, he's not.)) Roy doesn't block down field and the only thing he does better than "alligator-arm" a football is signal a first-down.

Sorry, but that was part of the Lions' problem to begin with. Winning teams celebrate TOUCHDOWNS!

nubs said...

Sorry, the Peter King / Phil Zaroo link.

Todd said...

If you get a chance today watch sportscenter. I didn't see it yet but they are reviewing the Lions today, also Stafford, and also something about Stafford's relationship with Troy Aikman. If I see it later I'll let you know if there is anything worth mentioning.

JJLions20 said...

I'M BACK.... Living in Michigan after 29 years living out of the state. Now that I'm settled down a little I can start posting again.

I'd say we have...Young Boss, Old guy he got promoted over (or will soon):

I just don't think Stafford will start game #1. The problem with starting Stafford at the beginning of the season is you can't bench him and go back. It was different in Atlanta with Matt Ryan, there was no other starter (Chris Redman), so they decided to go with. Everybody talks about Peyton Manning, but who was he competing with (Kelly Holcomb)? It's different in Detroit as Culpeper has started in the league and has played for Linehan.

Starting Culpeper will give the team the best chance to win, but as soon as they start loosing or Culpeper gets hurt (both are fairly likly) then in comes Stafford. I think he will be the starter by game 7.

Most coaches have 3 years, so you better show improvement and start winning in year 2. That's why Schwartz has to take his lumps with Stafford this year. They don't have to win every week with Stafford, but they need to show promise and signs that this kid is the real thing.

So Culpepper is going to be replaced. It's just a matter of when. It won't hurt Stafford to only play 10 games. He could be a little more prepared waiting until the 7th game. And there will be a bump in ticket sales at mid season as there will be excitement around the rookie QB.

DetFan1979 said...

Welcome back to MI JJLions20!

I was thinking the other day I missed the commentary from you and Nubs -- and both of you are back in position to post.

Whereabouts in MI did you end up? (shoot me an email if you want)

Agree with what you guys are saying, and I'm trying to wrok on something special for the Roy thing -- but I don't know if I can pull it off.

Todd said...

Great to have you back JJlions, we missed you!

Nothing great on the espn lions thing. And I unfortunatley missed the piece on Stafford and Aikmans relationship. If anyone saw it or has a link to an article about it let me know.


CSteward2778 said...

I think Culpepper will hold the job until he gets hurt. I dont see him getting pulled unless he plays downright terrible. He seems to have his swagger back, ecspecially with Linehan at OC. Stafford starts in 2010. He may be learning the plays, but I doubt he is understanding the offense as well as DC. The experience gives DC a huge edge.

RIP said...

Hey JJ,

Welcome back to Michigan. I was aslo gone from here for 9 1/2 years. In kzoo now.

Love this quote from Schwartz on Detroit Lion's site:
“So the roster is not finished and the roster won’t be finished Game 1. When you make this team, it’s not a 16-week scholarship. We’re going to constantly try to get better and provide that urgency for the players.”

CHIEFGER139 said...

swartz actually even had some positive notes on stanton, and said he's even getting some reps with the 1st team in a so called open competition for the starting job. I think that means they are keeping stanton now and that stafford will start sooner rather than later. I too think culpeper at least starts the 1st game-probably a huge loss to the saints-then maybe bring stafford in game 2 a home game against the vikes who we played well against last year? if not I agree stafford will most likely take over by game 7 unless culpeper turns out to be great like he was in minnesota.

RIP said...

This is a little off topic.

I keep shaking my head in disbelief everytime I read on MLive that Millen brought in Lewand.

They are supposily such knowledgable fans, but in reality it was Lewand who did the initial talks with Millen to get him to Detroit.

But then I can't believe I still read most of the bs comments when I read at nearly snail pace these days.

Pacer said...

HI Josh-been gone a few months as my wife and I went to San Francisco just prior to the draft and then 2 weeks on a cruise. I have been very busy since but finally got some time to get back to reading your posts and other replies.
Checked in with M-Live but that place is just getting crazy. Still a few really good posters over there-blueingreer and editstet but very few others.
It sounds from your QB comments that you are not exactly a fan of Culpepper at QB. I think he will have a pretty good year and give the coaches the luxury of playing Stafford when they want. Remember, he is only 32, a 3 time pro bowler and put up some huge numbers under Linehan. From all reports he is in great shape, knows the playbook and is respected in the locker room.
Also, call me crazy but I think the Lions O Line will be much improved this year. I have never believed that Backus is as bad as a lot of people have labelled him. He is a veteran that most analysts throughout the NFL rank as a decent but not great left tackle. The addition of Loper has gone largely unnoticed but this is a guy who played a lot of games in Tennessee, albeit not as a starter, but playing a lot of games in Tennessee = good lineman. The addition of 2 veterans who can play the left or right side if necessary, is not going to hurt and at the very least will bring a sense of leadership to the offensive side of the ball.
Add to that Pettigrew who was a solid blocker as well as a clutch receiver in college. The mix looks good to me. While I am by nature an optimist that is not how I have approached the Lions in the last 10 years or so. Been a fan since November 1971 so I go a long way back.

Safe to say that I think the Lions have made a lot of good moves, from Mayhew, to Schwartz, the draft and free agency and the waiver wire. I am not one who can't wait until the season starts but I do look forward to it.

I am posting this on June 24 and have read the interview with WCF and to that end I will email you an article re: Mayhew, written by a beat reporter for the Redskins as I am sure after WCF's interview today that topic is going to be on everyone's "hot list".

Great posts as always by everyone. Josh, emailing you as I am not sure how to post the link to the article.

Pacer said...


Pacer said...


Anonymous said...

Hola mi amigos!!!

Okay, here's an interesting scenario for you guys....What happens if by the bye week Culpepper (whom I personally think will do very well) is hanging at 4-2 (or hell what about 5-1 and 3-3)? Do you throw in the rookie? Or do you have him hold the clipboard for the rest of the year (assuming Dante keeps us at .500 at least) and go into next year with Stanton and someone else, other then Culpepper, as Stafford's backups?


Anonymous said...

What happens when the Lions realize Drew Stanton is their best QB option? It won't matter because they won't keep Stafford on the bench (they are paying him WAY too much). When Schwartz was with the Titans they played Vince Young right out of the gate do you think he learned anything from that or is he so enamored by the play of the two rookies (Ravens/Falcons) last season and blinded by that "big" arm (again, Vince Young) that Matty gets the go ahead.

On the other hand with C-Pep, I hope I'm wrong about him but I never thought he was that great of a QB in Minnesota. Scott Linehan is a good OC who benefited from the dual run threat (an established running game and a scrambling QB) and having one of the best receivers in football. Luckily we have the same scenario with the Lions, now the big question is will history repeat itself if given the chance?

In all reality I think Matty is starting right away and we will be looking for another vet because Daunte will probably be leaving if he isn't the starter and Drew hasn't had the best of luck in the staying healthy department. It really is sad that the old coaching staff never gave Stanton a chance to show if he has what it takes. He too will be ready to leave after another year of holding a clipboard and I can't say I blame him.


nubsnobber said...

Hola, good to see everyone back!

What the f**k are you smoking, Desert Lion? I am an ETERNAL optimist, who loves rosy glasses.

09/13 @ Saints
10/04 @ Chicago
10/18 @ Green Bay

How are you seeing .500? I would love .500 out of that! How do you see better than .500? Even hypothetically. Really. I;ve been wrong before. I've given $100 smacks to Detroit Lions Charities because I've been wrong. I can see the Lions making .500 by the end of the year IF they stay healthy and IF other Norris Division teams stumble hard. Say, Brett, Aaron, and Jay all get trapped in Lego World or Camp Snoopy in the Mall of America during the making of a NFL Network video.

And, God forbid what would happen if Jared Allen gets beaten by the wild Russian Boar he wrestles to the ground before he's able to slit his throat (Yes, true story...and the guy is not playing with a full deck. He has that thousand yard "clock tower" stare).


Killer has multiple posts about the owner, with Millen, Marinelli, and other topics. Ford saying we're giving a bad product, and not giving the fans a good show really makes me think the old cook is worse off than we think and he thinks the Lions Football team is his version of the Russian Ballet.

He thinks fans should be given a show. A good show. He says he wants to win, but I could hear no fire in his belly or his voice. I felt no real remorse after reading this article. The words that he felt bad fell on empty ears, such as a former lover saying, "It's not you; it's me!" Just a feeling like you got kicked in the nuts as Tampa Bay holds Barry to 34 yards rushing. Juat like a Chicago Bears' Paul Edinger field goal. Or a coach saying, "We'll take the wind!" That empty, hollow feeling. I want to believe this year will be different. Heck, JJ and az lions fan...I'll "rouchambeau" you for it.

Anonymous said...

Jeeze calm down guys.....all I was saying is that if we are .500 (and no I do not think it is anywhere near likely) what do you think will happen? Do you throw the rookie out and hope he doesn't get killed? Can you bench the rookie (if he's floundering) and put Dante back out? Will the trust be gone (as Dante "hypothetically" performed well and they still benched him)?

And by the way nub, if you don't believe in near miracles then I need to refer you to the recent win by the US soccer team in the CONCACAF(no I do not think that is the right abbreviation but I gave it a try :-) ). Everyone better start praying now, to whatever it is you believe in, so we can follow suit. Personally I think i'll try voodoo hexes on the opposing teams this year. hahaha

Much love,

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