Notebook: Will Stanton Continue to Start?

Finally, after growing up in Detroit and going through so much with the Lions, Drew Stanton got to play Sunday against Jacksonville. More news, notes and quotes inside, including: Will Stanton or Culpepper get the start next Sunday?

Finally, after growing up in Detroit and going through so much with the Lions, Drew Stanton got to play Sunday against Jacksonville.

"It was great," Stanton said. "It was one of those things that you dream about as a kid. Obviously having it come to fruition was tremendous, to get a chance to get out there and play, especially in Ford Field in front of the home crowd."

Culpepper Likely To Start
    The Lions likely will start Daunte Culpepper at quarterback Sunday at Carolina. Coach Rod Marinelli just won't say so.
   Marinelli kept his quarterback plans under wraps last week, and after Sunday's 38-14 loss to Jacksonville, he said he planned to do the same thing this week.
   But all indications are Culpepper will start.
   Culpepper started against the Jaguars despite having had only three days of practice after coming out of retirement. Marinelli said he thought Culpepper gave the Lions the best chance to win. Culpepper threw an interception on his first series and finished 5-for-10 for 104 yards.
   "Daunte Culpepper's a talented football player," Lions chief operating officer Tom Lewand said. "The idea behind anybody we sign is to come in and help our football team win games, period."
   Drew Stanton, a second-round pick out of Michigan State last year, made his long-anticipated NFL debut. He made a goal-line cameo in the first quarter and threw his first pass for a touchdown.
   In the fourth quarter, Stanton went 5-for-7 for 93 yards while taking five sacks. But when he reentered the game, the Lions were trailing, 38-7, and the Jaguars were playing a prevent defense.
   Asked if he would consider the situation when evaluating Stanton, Marinelli said: "That's important. You bring up a great point. You're behind, and your coverage is dictated.
Everything's a little bit more dictated, little bit more four-man rushes and some of those things. So you look at everything."
   Marinelli and offensive coordinator Jim Colletto have said recently Stanton is not ready to play because injuries have cost him too much practice time the past two years.
   Dan Orlovsky is scheduled to see a specialist early this week. He has two fractures and a torn ligament and might need surgery.
  Culpepper has a long way to go. He had to wear two armbands with the plays -- about 20 passes and 10-15 runs -- and check them in each huddle.
   "I think it's going to take a little time," Jacksonville coach Jack Del Rio said. "It's a pretty good league. It's pretty tough to be out as long as he's been out and come back and be razor sharp."
    But Culpepper said he is up for it.
    "I ain't scared of a challenge," Culpepper said. "I'm going to come into this thing full-force. I'm going to look at myself in the mirror and say, 'What can I do better to get this team better?' Hopefully everybody's going to say that."

The Lions drafted Stanton in the second round last year. He spent his entire rookie season on injured reserve with a knee problem, then had his mechanics changed for the second time in two years in the offseason, then suffered a sprained thumb in August.

As the Lions struggled this year, fans and media called for Stanton to play. But offensive coordinator Jim Colletto said he didn't want to embarrass Stanton by playing him because he wasn't ready, igniting a minor firestorm. And then the Lions signed veteran Daunte Culpepper and started him against Jacksonville even though he had only three days of practice.

Culpepper couldn't learn everything in three days, though. So the Lions had a goal-line package ready for Stanton, and when they faced a first-and-goal at the 3 in the first quarter, Stanton trotted into the field to cheers.

Stanton handed off on his first play, then threw a TD pass to tight end John Owens on his second play. The Lions led the Jaguars 7-3.

But with the Lions trailing 24-7 at halftime, Stanton was told he might play more. And when Detroit fell behind 38-7 in the fourth quarter, he got his shot.

"He was so excited in that huddle," left tackle Jeff Backus said. "Not to the point where it was bad. It just kind of surprised me. He was just talking and relaxed and ready to go."

Stanton took his lumps -- five sacks, to be exact. The Jaguars knew he had to throw and came after him, and his inexperience showed.

"Sometimes you've just got to get it out of there or throw it away," coach Rod Marinelli said. "I think it's just anticipating. Instead of waiting for the guy to get open, it's throwing to a spot knowing he's going to get open."

But Stanton also made some good throws and led a touchdown drive against the Jaguars' prevent defense, finishing 6-for-8 for 94 yards.

"Obviously being down by so much isn't what you would hope for," Stanton said. "But I think that's one thing I have to try and do: Whatever opportunities I get, make the most of them, because I don't know when they're coming."


  • QB Drew Stanton's first NFL touchdown pass was TE John Owens' first touchdown catch. Stanton celebrated by running to Owens with his hands in the air and trying to take the ball as a souvenir, and Owens wouldn't let it go.

    "He was trying to tug on it," Owens said, smiling, "and I was tucking it back."

    Owens gave up the ball -- grudgingly.

    "I had to do the extra point," Owens said, smiling, "so I couldn't really argue with him too long."

    So now what?

    "We were talking about having to cut it up," Stanton said. "We're going to have to work something out."

    Owens smiled.

    "I already tried to bribe a couple of the equipment guys," Owens said. "They said they'll take care of it."

  • Why is the Lions defense so bad?

    "We're making some errors that we shouldn't be making," coach Rod Marinelli said. "In this time of the year, we shouldn't be making them."

    Does Marinelli have to correct the same mistakes each Monday?

    "I don't know if it's exactly the same one, but it's concepts," he said. "And as a staff, maybe we're missing something on some of this stuff that we can do a better job of. But it's some base things. ... Their effort was good. Sometimes it doesn't look like it from where you're at. But you watch the film. The guys are hustling to the ball and getting to the pile and doing those things that we're asking them to do. But we're beating ourselves at times."

Player Notes:

  • DE Dewayne White suffered a calf strain and likely won't play Sunday at Carolina. He wore a boot in the locker room Monday.
  • DE Jared DeVries suffered a broken hand and is scheduled for surgery Tuesday. He said he has an outside chance of playing Sunday, but he likely will be out.
  • CB Keith Smith suffered a groin strain and will be evaluated Wednesday.
  • WR Mike Furrey suffered a mild concussion and will be evaluated Wednesday.
  • C Dominic Raiola went to see a specialist about his broken thumb. He said he felt better, but it remains unclear if and when he will be able to return.
  • QB Dan Orlovsky went to see a specialist about his broken thumb.

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