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Stafford Claims Lions Starting QB Job

Matthew Stafford

No matter how you look at it, rookie quarterback Matthew Stafford managed to wrest away the starting quarterback job from challenger Daunte Culpepper. According to Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz, Culpepper did not lose the competition as Stafford simply outplayed him during the preseason.

Schwartz added:

“I’m very, very comfortable with the quarterback position here, not just one and two, but also three. What made this decision difficult was that I think we can win with Daunte Culpepper, I think we can with Matt Stafford, and I think we can win with Drew Stanton.”

The one factor that probably helped Stafford edge out Culpepper was his chemistry with top wide receiver Calvin Johnson, with Schwartz concurring that there was something special between the two players.

Stafford was rather low-key upon hearing about the obvious good news, but he added a sense of realism about winning the quarterback job, saying:

“I don’t want to go out there and see how many mistakes it takes to change his mind,” he said with a laugh. “I’ve had successes and failures in my career and in this preseason, but I feel like I know this offense very well and I’m ready to go out and win games.”

I will assume until proven otherwise that Culpepper will be the good soldier about all of this and support Culpepper in any way that he can. What I did find interesting was a brief comment that Schwartz had about Culpepper getting beat out by Stafford:

“Daunte Culpepper is back — there’s no doubt in my mind and there’s no doubt around this league,” he said. “He’s going to be back as a starting quarterback in this league, and with a high level of success.”

Take that any way that you want to, however, that – at least to me, anyways – almost sounds like that as soon as third-string QB Drew Stanton recovers from his knee injury, Culpepper will be shopped around. I certainly hope not, but that’s what Schwartz’s message sure sounded like to me.

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One Response to “Stafford Claims Lions Starting QB Job”

  1. steve says:

    Tough decision. I think Culpepper has been playing better football, but I guess you have to give your franchise quarterback the chance. If he struggles, it will be interesting to see how long before he’s yanked, but hopefully he won’t struggle…

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