Lions Notebook: Will Stanton Get First Start?

Matthew Stafford will likely miss another contest on Sunday, but the real quarterback question in Detroit is whether or not Drew Stanton will receive his first start since being drafted in 2007 ...

It sounds like quarterback Matthew Stafford won't make another dramatic return for the Lions on Sunday at San Francisco. But it's too early to say whether Daunte Culpepper will start again in his place or whether Drew Stanton will get his first start since the Lions drafted him in the second round in 2007.

Stafford has rested his injured left shoulder the past two games. Asked if he had ruled out Stafford for Sunday, coach Jim Schwartz said: "No. Not yet. Not yet. But it's definitely still a concern and it's something that we'll look at probably in the next 48 hours. We'll make a decision before Wednesday on whether Matt's going to be able to go or not."

Culpepper started the past two games and led the Lions to only three points in six quarters. He was benched at halftime Sunday. He doesn't deserve all the blame, just as Stanton doesn't deserve all the credit for the turnaround Sunday. Safety Louis Delmas sparked the Lions by returning an interception 100 yards for a touchdown one play after Stanton threw an ugly pick.

But the Lions came to life while Stanton was under center, and that counts for something.

"Did some good things, did some not-so-good things, moved the team, put points on the board," Schwartz said. "Those are things we had been struggling to do. We intercepted a ball and scored a touchdown, but after that, we put 17 points on the board in a half of football. In the National Football League, that's a good half of football.

"The quarterback always probably gets more credit when things are going well, and he takes more blame when things aren't going well. I think that Drew probably gets the benefit of the doubt of that in the second half, and then Daunte probably takes the brunt of that in the first half.

"It's more about the team, but that's this business. The head coach and the quarterback probably take the most criticism for things that they may not be able to control."

Team Notebook:

  • Right tackle Gosder Cherilus committed false-start and holding penalties in the second quarter. But those weren't the only reasons why Cherilus was benched at halftime.

    Coach Jim Schwartz said Cherilus had been inconsistent while battling through injuries and made glaring mistakes.

    "It has nothing to do with how tough you are or how much you're trying or your long-range potential," Schwartz said. "It's performance. We thought that we needed to make that move there. Now, is that a one-week thing? Is it a rest-of-the-season thing? Is it a two-game thing? That's still yet to be determined."

    Veteran Jon Jansen replaced Cherilus. Daniel Loper had already replaced Manny Ramirez at left guard in the second quarter. Those two have been flip-flopping all season.

    "We just need more consistency as a whole group, not just Gos, but just as a whole front five," Schwartz said.

  • Brian Witherspoon could return kicks and punts Sunday at San Francisco. The Lions claimed the cornerback off waivers from Jacksonville last week for that purpose, but they left him off the 45-man game roster Sunday. They needed as many defensive backs as possible who knew the scheme because of the Cardinals' multi-receiver sets. "We didn't bring him in here to make him inactive or to take a peek at him in practice," Schwartz said. "We brought him in here to serve a role on the team. We just need to find a way to make that work on the 45."

Player Notes:

  • RB Kevin Smith went to Birmingham, Ala., to have his torn ACL examined Monday. Coach Jim Schwartz said the doctor was to determine when Smith would have surgery.
  • TE Brandon Pettigrew had surgery to repair his torn ACL on Friday in Dallas. Schwartz said Pettigrew was in a good frame of mind and would do most of his rehab in Detroit.
  • S Daniel Bullocks continues to rehab his knee injury. He tore an ACL in 2007 and missed the season. He played all of '08, but ended up back on injured reserve this season.
  • CB Phillip Buchanon likely will be limited this week. He left Sunday's game against Arizona with a shoulder injury and was already playing with a knee problem.
  • LS Don Muhlbach continues to undergo testing for his concussion. The Lions expect to know more about his status soon.

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