Notebook: Should Stanton Start?

Everyone wants to see what quarterback Drew Stanton can do with Detroit's first-team offense. Well, everyone except head coach Rod Marinelli. Quotes, notes and more inside.

With the Lions 0-7, people are clamoring for quarterback Drew Stanton, hoping to see what the local kid can do.

Stanton went to a suburban Detroit high school and Michigan State. The Lions drafted him in the second round last year.

But coach Rod Marinelli said he would not play Stanton just so the Lions can evaluate him for the future. He said he would play him only if starter Dan Orlovsky is injured or if he feels Stanton is better than Orlovsky, based on practices and games.

Marinelli doesn't believe in giving out playing time based on draft status, and Stanton is still getting up to speed.

Stanton went on injured reserve after only three days of training camp last year, had his mechanics altered for the second time in two years in the off-season, and played only two exhibitions this year before suffering a thumb injury. He went through his first regular-season NFL practice only about a month ago and has gotten only about 20 percent of the reps the past two weeks.

Asked if he was confident Stanton would start a game this season, Marinelli said: "I couldn't say that right now, sometime during the season. It's this week. We're working on this week."

Orlovsky, a fifth-round pick in 2005, is coming off his first three NFL starts. He did not turn over the ball in those games, and the Lions had a chance to win each. But there is plenty of room for improvement.

If Orlovsky improves and the Lions win, Marinelli likely will stick with him. But if Orlovsky doesn't improve and the Lions continue to lose, that could give him reason to turn to Stanton, who will have had more practice time by then.

"They're both getting some reps in practice, so you're developing them both," Marinelli said. "The guy's one snap away, anyway. We're just going to keep working with Danny and see how far he can progress after three weeks, see where his maximum is, because he's worked at it, he's sharp, he knows what he's doing. ...

"It's more of a week-to-week thing, evaluation after each game."


  • The Lions are sick. "Losing is a disease," Marinelli said. "It's kind of a disease, and the way you fight it is, you've got to stay tough. You've got to be consistent. You've got to have a belief in what you're doing, and that's how you fight it. If you give in to it and just say, 'Well, let's do this or do that or do this,' I don't think you can beat it." But does Marinelli have the right medicine? "Yeah," Marinelli said. "Fundamentals. Execution."
  • Center Dominic Raiola has a message for opponents who might take the Lions lightly. "If people come out thinking we're a cakewalk, that's fine," Raiola said. "But you better protect yourself, because, you know, we're going to strap it up and hit you every week."
  • Tight end Casey Fitzsimmons has bruised organs and damaged cartilage after taking a knee to the ribs Sunday against Washington. "I haven't slept since Saturday," he said. "It hurts to breathe, and it hurts to lay, and it hurts to sit. It hurts to walk. It hurts to do everything." Still, he hopes to protect his ribs and play Sunday at Chicago.

Player Notes:

  • TE Casey Fitzsimmons suffered bruised organs and damaged cartilage when he took a knee in the ribs Sunday against Washington. He couldn't breathe without pain Monday, but he still hopes to protect his ribs and play Sunday at Chicago.
  • FB Jerome Felton suffered a high ankle sprain Sunday. He could miss this week and maybe one more. He was headed for an ultrasound test Monday.
  • LG Damion Cook left Sunday's game with a sprained knee but said he was fine. He expects to practice Wednesday.
  • S Dwight Smith remains questionable this week with a sprained foot.
  • LB Jordon Dizon is still nursing a hamstring injury, and his status for this week is unclear.

    Report Card:

    PASSING OFFENSE: C -- Quarterback Dan Orlovsky has not turned over the ball in his first three NFL starts, but he has not made enough plays, either. He went 21-for-35 for 223 yards and a touchdown, but he didn't get the ball enough to wide receiver Calvin Johnson, who faced a lot of double coverage and caught only four passes for 57 yards and a TD. The Lions dropped four passes.

    RUSHING OFFENSE: D -- Running back Rudi Johnson started and scored an 11-yard touchdown, but he had only 10 yards on seven carries otherwise. Rookie Kevin Smith had only four carries for 12 yards, though he also caught seven passes for 50 yards. The Lions' second-longest run was a 10-yard broken-play scramble by Orlovsky.

    PASS DEFENSE: F -- Quarterback Jason Campbell posted a career-best passer rating of 127.4, surpassing his previous career best, set against the Lions last year. Six of the seven quarterbacks the Lions have faced this year have posted the best passer rating of their careers. Campbell went 23-for-28 for 328 yards and a touchdown. Wide receiver Santana Moss caught nine passes for 140 yards and a TD.

    RUSH DEFENSE: C -- Running back Clinton Portis had 24 carries for 126 yards and a touchdown. The Lions pointed out they limited Portis, the NFL's leading rusher entering the game, other than two 17-yard runs on the game's opening drive and a 31-yard run late. But they can't take away those big plays. The last one was a killer.

    SPECIAL TEAMS: D -- Moss returned a punt 80 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter, giving the Redskins a 22-10 lead. He ran into a teammate, but he stayed on his feet and still eluded two Lions. The Lions continued to get little out of their return game but solid performances by kicker Jason Hanson and punter Nick Harris. COACHING: D -- At least the Lions were in this one. They scored in the first quarter for the first time this season, led at halftime for the second time this season and had a chance to win down the stretch. But all the things the Lions' coaches preach - especially executing under pressure - still aren't getting done enough to win.

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