I have been reading a lot of blogs and articles saying that Culpepper should get the start against the Vikings this week. That would be a terrible idea for the organization and the progress of our rookie QB. Stafford needs playing experience. I went into this season looking at an opportunity to try and win a few games, get young players playing time and change the way the Lions play football. Change the style, change the exercises program change everything.
So why would it be better for a veteran to play a few games until ineffectiveness or injury puts Stafford right back into the action? I know people think (including me) that Stafford should sit the first few games to learn and to protect him from injury because our offensive line is so awful. I know how a beating can ruin a QB (David Carr) or getting early playing time can hurt the QB by never getting settled (Tim Couch) but sometimes its effective (Peyton Manning, Drew Bledsoe) proving that no matter what the system you do, the QB is the key to his own success. What good would it do to have Stafford stand on the sidelines and watch Culpepper play?
Culpepper had a solid preseason and worked very hard to lose weight and learn the offense to start for Detroit. But that does not guarantee a starting job in the NFL. If the Lions have a better shot to win on Sundays with Matt Stafford they should take it. Until we win, every game is a must win to avoid the awful record of 27 straight losses, which would put the icing on an embarrassing cake. Culpepper's success in the preseason was mostly by dumping the ball out to a back or tight end, not taking chances, chances that must be taken to win in the NFL. Stafford will take those chances and learn from the mistakes he makes to become a better player and hopefully lead the Lions to victories in the future.
Matt Stafford appears to be very hard working and smart and can overcome these rookie setbacks. Of course their has been "can't miss" rookies before who have not panned out so we have to watch him closely. For now all we can hope is to see him progress and put up solid numbers and win football games. He is not going to get any better on the bench, and he certainly won't get any better backing up a player who will be out of the league in a year or two.