After Lions coach Jim Schwartz suggested several weeks back that rookie Matthew Stafford would be the team’s starting quarterback when: (1) he’s the best quarterback on the team; and (2) he’s ready to play, we assumed this meant that training camp would be all about getting him ready to play, since the Lions wouldn’t be coughing up $41.7 million in guaranteed money for Stafford if the Lions didn’t regard Stafford as the best quarterback on the roster.
We assumed incorrectly.
The best we can tell, Stafford didn’t show enough and/or Culpepper did during a June minicamp that Schwartz regarded as pivotal on the issue, because there’s currently an open competition between the two now that training camp has opened.
Though this item on the team’s official web site seems to imply that even Drew Stanton has a crack at the job, it was Stafford and Culpepper splitting the first-team reps on the first day of preseason practice.
And if that wasn’t enough, G.M. Martin Mayhew made clear that it all comes down to Stafford and Culpepper.
“I like our two quarterbacks,” Mayhew said Saturday. “I think we have probably the two most talented — physically talented — quarterbacks we’ve had since we’ve been here, and I feel good about those guys.”
Mayhew also said that the final decision as to who’ll be the starter will be up to the coaches.
“It’s going to be the coaches’ call on that,” Mayhew said. “I trust those guys to make the right decision.”
And, presumably, Schwartz is smart enough to know that, with a growing swath of empty seats at Ford Field, the right decision entails showing off the expensive new sports car that the team has purchased.