So with the 2-10 Lions doing their best to hold off a trio of 1-11 for the right to screw up the first overall pick in the draft, coach Jim Schwartz is pulling out all the stops.
He’s not talking about whether quarterback Matthew Stafford will play on Sunday at Baltimore.
“I’ve got a pretty good idea of his status, but I don’t feel any need
to tell Baltimore that information,” Schwartz said at a Monday press conference, per the Associated Press. “They play Monday
night this week, so they are already facing a short week and the
difficulties that brings. I’d rather not help their game-planning
process by letting them know which quarterback we expect to play.”
Stafford, the first overall pick in the 2009 draft, twice aggravated the separation of his non-throwing shoulder against the Bengals. The second hit, in the fourth quarter, forced him out of the game.
“He’s obviously very sore, and he’s playing knowing that he’s going
to get hit, and when he does, he’ll be in excruciating pain,” Schwartz
said. “But he’s resilient and tough, and he’s done his best to stay in
there. . . .
there was something going on where he could make it worse by playing,
we would have to think a lot harder about having him on the field. Right now, though, it is just a matter of pain management. If he
can deal with the pain — and that’s a conversation we have on a
constant basis — he’s our starting quarterback.”
Fine. Good. Swell. But does it really matter whether Stafford or Daunte Culpepper or Drew Stanton or George Plimpton is taking the snaps for a team that has escaped scrutiny regarding how bad it is because there are three teams that are significantly worse? The Lions are playing at Baltimore on Sunday against the Ravens, and the Ravens are more than capable of preparing for anything the Lions will throw at them.
The notion that not talking about whether Stafford will play gives the Lions an edge falls somewhere between self-flattery and delusion. It doesn’t mean the Lions are destined to lose. But if they win, it won’t have anything to do with whether the Lions were able to confound the Ravens’ efforts to prepare the best offense this side of the
1999 2009 Rams.