Lions Notebook: Season Finale Preparations

Coach Jim Schwartz still has not announced his starting quarterback for the season finale Sunday against Chicago. It appears to be Daunte Culpepper, who took the No. 1 reps in practice for the second consecutive day, at least in the part of practice open to reporters. But Drew Stanton could make an appearance.

Coach Jim Schwartz still has not announced his starting quarterback for the season finale Sunday against Chicago. It appears to be Daunte Culpepper, who took the No. 1 reps in practice for the second consecutive day, at least in the part of practice open to reporters. But Drew Stanton could make an appearance.

"The way we're going right now, everybody that's suited up better be ready to play," offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said. "That's the way I look at it."

The Lions have benched their starter each of their last two games -- Stanton on Sunday at San Francisco, Culpepper on Dec. 20 against Arizona. The game before that was a 48-3 loss Dec. 13 at Baltimore, and Schwartz said he didn't bench Culpepper then because the Lions "had enough other issues without having to worry about quarterback."

Stanton's health has been a factor this week. He popped up on the injury report Wednesday as limited by an ankle problem. He was listed the same way Thursday. Linehan said Stanton suffered the injury early in Sunday's game and was "real sore" afterward but has improved since.

"He's made progress toward being closer to 100 percent now than he was, what we thought coming out of the game," Linehan said. "It ends up not being a real serious thing."

Stanton struggled in his first NFL start, an apparent audition for the backup job next season with Matthew Stafford as the solid No. 1 and Culpepper unlikely to return as the No. 2. Stanton failed to generate any points after a field goal on the opening drive. He finished 11-for-21 for 130 yards, with three interceptions and a fumble.

"Anytime you turn the ball over four times at my position, you're not going to win," Stanton wrote in his blog at drewstanton.com. "Our defense was playing extremely well and we did not respond on offense, and that falls completely on my shoulders.

"That ... sat the worst with me on Sunday's flight home. I felt as if I had let my teammates down. And that is about as bad of a feeling as you can have."

Linehan gave a positive spin.

"There were some good things," Linehan said. "Some of the turnovers overshadow that -- always happens if you don't win. But I liked the fact that he had a 15-play drive for points in the first start of his career on the road against a pretty good defense.

"So that's a start, and I told Drew that. I said I look at that as moving forward, progress. We've got to eliminate some of the things that are catastrophic for our team from the quarterback position, and he's not the only one. We just can't have the turnovers."

Stanton has pleased Linehan in a backup role, both in the preseason and regular season.

"As a relief pitcher, he's been kind of what you're looking for, if you use a baseball analogy," Linehan said.

Linehan said "that's not what he would want to hear," but "what you want in your developmental (QB), your guy that you're maybe looking at as a possible No. 2. He doesn't want to be a 3 for the rest of his career.

"Those are all things that he's shown me that I like in him. He's been able to come off the sideline if that's his role and feel good about him doing the job."

Player Notes:

  • S Louis Delmas did not practice Wednesday or Thursday because of an ankle injury, but he is expected to play Sunday against Chicago.
  • LB Larry Foote did not practice Wednesday or Thursday because of a foot injury. He has missed one game, but coach Jim Schwartz said he still has a chance to play against the Bears.
  • CB Phillip Buchanon returned to practice Wednesday after missing a game because of a shoulder injury, but he was listed as limited Wednesday and Thursday.
  • DT Joe Cohen was listed as limited with a knee injury Wednesday and Thursday.
  • LB Jordon Dizon was listed as limited with a neck injury Wednesday, but he practiced fully Thursday.
  • QB Drew Stanton was listed as limited with an ankle injury Wednesday and Thursday.
  • WR Brian Witherspoon was listed as limited with an ankle injury Wednesday and Thursday.

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