Culpepper in Detroit? Lions Weighing Options

So much for the Drew Stanton talk. The Detroit Lions discussions (and they're only that -- for now) with Daunte Culpepper have everyone wondering what the situation is at quarterback for the ball club. More news and notes 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.

Another factor in the quarterback discussion could be free agent Daunte Culpepper, who worked out for the Lions on Tuesday.

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."


  • Free agent QB Daunte Culpepper worked out for the Lions on Tuesday, but he did not immediately sign a contract. The Lions placed starting QB Jon Kitna on injured reserve two weeks ago due to a back injury, and backup QB Dan Orlovsky has lost back-to-back starts. Culpepper, 31, announced his retirement just before the season began, but he recently talked with the Chiefs about their quarterback situation.
  • 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 Notebook:

  • 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. The Lions signed fullback David Barnes as insurance, waiving defensive tackle Langston Moore to make room.
  • 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.

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