Lions Risking A Derek Anderson Situation?

So let’s assume that the Lions end up picking the quarterback instead of the outside linebacker who would have to play inside linebacker (and who would thus be the first inside linebacker since Tom Cousineau 30 years ago to be taken at No. 1 overall) when the draft starts on Saturday.
Will Matthew Stafford play as a rookie?  Ideally, he won’t.  For starters (and unlike last year’s rookie first-round quarterbacks), Stafford is an underclassman.  And underclassmen are even harder pressed to succeed at quarterback in their rookie years.  Also, because the team’s offensive line leaves much to be desired, Stafford would be at an even greater risk of injury, frustration, and/or discouragement. 
Last year, the Ravens wanted to give Joe Flacco a year on the bench, due to concerns regarding the quality of the line in the first year after Jonathan Ogden.  But when Troy Smith developed tonsilitis in August and Flacco got some extra reps with the starters in the preseason, the team decided to take a chance.
The fact that it worked for the Ravens (and the Falcons with Matt Ryan) could make the Lions more inclined to give Stafford the ball from Week One.
It likely would be a mistake.
But what about the alternative?  Daunte Culpepper and Scott Linehan are reunited, together for the first time since Culpepper generated a 110.8 passer rating in 2004.  And playing the role of Randy Moss is Calvin Johnson.
So what if the Lions turn it around this year and win the watered-down NFC North?  Would Culpepper keep the job like Derek Anderson did in Cleveland, forcing Stafford to play the role of Brady Quinn?  Or would Stafford then be asked to make his debut on a team with significantly higher expectations for 2010?
Bottom line?  Though the Lions are handling the business aspects of having the first overall pick masterfully, there might be no good way out of the maze of shrubs that will arise as soon as Stafford’s and Culpepper’s names appear on the quarterback depth chart.
So we think they should take Jason Smith or Eugene Monroe, and hope that either of them will have a Joe Thomas-style impact on the offensive line, giving Culpepper ample time to launch missiles to Megatron.
And then, with the 20th pick, they should pounce on Knowshon Moreno, if he’s still on the board.
Even Matt Millen could’ve figured that one out.

73 responses to “Lions Risking A Derek Anderson Situation?

  1. So what if the Lions turn it around this year and win the watered-down NFC North?
    I had to read that 3 times to make sure I read it right… You crack me up, dude…

  2. Knowshon for real? not a defensive player?…. the lions will give up 10 million points next year if they dont get a LB

  3. Why would they take Moreno when they have Kevin Smith and Maurice Morris instead of addressing the O-Line, which you said was weak, with Oher or Britton

  4. The idea of Detroit winning any division, no matter the quality, is laughable. Atlanta and Cleveland are one thing; Detroit hasn’t been good since the FIFTIES.

  5. Did you watch any of the lions games last year or were they all blacked out? The lions Defense was and still is one of the worst of all time. You have them upgrading at Tackle and upgrading at Running back with their first two picks.
    They will still be down 14 or 21 points every first quarter and I don’t think a Running Back and OT can help with that. If the lions take offensive players with their first 2 picks, i will eat my hat.

  6. Yeah, interesting angle. However Culpepper is 32 and Derek Anderson is 25 (and 24 i think when he took the QB spot). Being 32 is a lot different than being a year or two older than the guy the team drafted.
    Swing and a miss on this one Florio… but like the hustle.
    I mean it didn’t hurt Aaron Rodgers to have a little more time with splinters in his ass. Stafford will be lucky to get a year and half training because he’ll be better prepared. In fact NOT handing Stafford the reins just because he is a 1st round pick is the smartest thing the Lions can do. Get him ready, let him learn before he’s thrown into the fire.

  7. The Dolphins went from 1-15 to first-place at 11-5.
    Will the Lions do it? Probably not.
    But it’s not as crazy as “efftwofiddy” thinks.

  8. The Lions winning the NFC north is about as likely as John Madden becoming a frequent flier on Continental or Emmit Smith becoming an English professor.
    Nice dream though.

  9. Running back? At #20? Be serious man, they got one of the steals of the draft last year with Kevin Smith who barely missed 1000yds in basically 12 games in a pass-oriented offense. I think he’s going to blow up this year, and they got Morris backing him up. At any rate this team still needs 5-6 defensive starters, at least, so they need to focus there.
    The rest of the article was good though, I’m on board with the anti-QB logic.

  10. (Dumb Charger Fan)
    How come you don’t mention Brees and Rivers, it just proves that everyone is out to get Rivers!!

  11. I think it’s probably important to mention that Derek Anderson was 24 when Quinn came in, and Daunte Culpepper is 32 … but then you wouldn’t have anything to write about.

  12. Yeah, let’s count on a fat QB with one leg left who’s already in his 30s. This is how the Patriots and Steelers became a dynasty.

  13. At least the Lions would have the Browns’ blueprint to follow.
    Q: How should a team deal with having too many starting QBs?
    A: Try to trade all of the good players on the team OTHER than the QBs.

  14. The flaw in your theory is Culpepper leading a team to success. The other flaw is the Lions succeeding.

  15. I say try to trade pick 20 like the Eagles did last year. Next year’s draft looks way better. If that isn’t going to happen, please address the worst freaking d-line in the NFL.

  16. “watered-down NFC North”
    What are you smoking Florio?
    If they don’t play Stafford they’re essentially dressing the same team last year. We all know what happened then. You can’t honestly think they will win this division. I mean come on! This division is built on running the football and stopping the run. Which they can do neither. There is no way they can win this with or without Stafford.

  17. If the Lions do take Stafford they will need to spend another pick or two on offense to give Stafford more weapons than Calvin Johnson. Moreno would not only take some of the load off of Kevin Smith but he would add versatility to the Lions backfield.
    Schwartz did say that talent would trump need in the draft and if Moreno is the best player available I would take him in a heartbeat.

  18. Ya there is a guy on the roster named Kevin Smith so Knowshon can go somewhere else

  19. The more time that passes, the more it appears that the 110.8 rating was more of an aberration and less to do with anything related to Linehan and/or Culpepper specifically. We’ll find out “for sure” this year, I suppose, but I don’t think anyone should be holding their breath.
    If they really wanted to be smart, they would go LT / C at # 1 and #20. Then, they could put whoever the hell they wanted to behind those guys and do just fine.
    It starts with the O-LINE, people. Why is this so hard?

  20. knowshon I would love at 20, but they need something different then a RB that high.
    I would say they need a DE there, if they take Stafford at #1 then they HOPEFULLY get Maualuga to fall to them at 20, but if they take Curry I think they should go with Michael Johnson at 20.
    They do however need a DT, OG, and SS too.
    so a RB probably isn’t on the dockit until the 6th, or 7th round where they can get a talent like Gartrell Johnson out of Colorado State.

  21. The HUGE difference in the three comparable situations (Drew Brees/Phillip Rivers; Derek Anderson/Brady Quinn) is that in the other two situations, the current QB’s that the teams had (Brees, Anderson) still had a lot of NFL life left in them. This left them with a decision of ‘who they wanted to be the future of their franchise at QB?’ It’s nothing like that With Culpepper
    If they select Stafford, and Culpepper performs the way he used to in Minnesota, so what? Pep is 32, and likely, doesn’t have more than 2 or 3 years left in him.
    I’m sure the Lions would be thrilled that Duante’s performance would give Stafford ample time to learn the system from the bench from his first 2 years.
    Sure they would be paying the guy a lot to be sitting from the bench for his first 2 years but any GM can tell you that it will pay off.
    There is a lot more positive to the situation than there is negative.
    (and who would thus be the first inside linebacker since Tom Cousineau 30 years ago to be taken at No. 1 overall)
    He would still be drafted as an OLB; it doesn’t matter where they get switched to in the NFL. Do you consider Robert Gallery as a Guard coming off the draft board?

  22. The glorious Culpepper comeback. Also, can we stop callling the NFC North watered down?

  23. To win any division a year after going 0-16, I should think the Lions would be happy that a Derek Anderson situation is the worst of their problems!
    Also, Anderson was just 24 when the Browns drafted Quinn. Culpepper is 32 years old. Even with a successful season, Culpepper won’t be looked at as the QB of the future in Detroit.

  24. Jay Cutler fines your suggestion that the lions will win the North very, very hilarious…

  25. This is exactly what the Lions should do. Culpepper is poised to prove he can still play. Build an o-line and get a running game I like Wells better than Moreno for them because they have Kevin Smith. The fact that they supposedly have a deal in place with Curry is ridiculous if they think Stafford is their guy…. You don’t play around with the number 1 pick and a QB if you think he is the QB of the future take him. Any hesitation go with a safer pick with Monroe or Smith.

  26. Also, The Lions are risking a Derek Anderson Situation?
    What? Culpepper puts up Pro Bowl numbers and they are stuck with Culpepper and Stafford?
    Im pretty sure if Culpepper puts up the number D.A. did for the Browns in 07, the Lions and their fans will be ok.

  27. Baffled by this.
    1) Culpepper doesn’t have any kind of body of work (or body for that matter…) to show for the last four seasons. He’s pretty much shot through, and if anything, was outshone by Dan Orlovsky last year.
    2) A RB? Serious? As everyone here has pointed out, they have bigger needs. People point to the Adrian Peterson situation as validation of the ‘pick the best player available’ school of drafting, but it’s easy to gloss over the fact that Minnesota had one of the best lines in the NFL, and a top 10 Defence to boot. The Lions rank in the bottom 3 of each category, so yeah, how about that?
    If any NFL franchise should know that a top quality Running Back isn’t the answer to their losing streak, it’s Detroit.

  28. This isn’t a Derek Anderson situation, this is an Eli Manning, Carson Palmer situation…
    Let Culpepper play this year. If he stays healthy start working Stafford in over the second half of the season during garbage time – and open the competition, or just label him the starter for next season.
    Non issue here.

  29. You only said Moreno ’cause you thought Pat White would’ve been just too crazy…

  30. wow. interesting. almost as interesting as “will the lions let the clock run out?”.

  31. why draft a RB in the first when is been shown the right lower round guy can be productive and defense is a priority?
    besides, Millen would’ve drafted Crabtree at #1, Harvin at #20…

  32. Taking an offensive tackle is the safest route. That’s why Parcells took Jake Long and not Matt Ryan last year.
    It’s not that he didn’t like Ryan, it’s that with the 50% wash out rate on first round QB’s and the ridiculous amount of money you have to pay the #1 overall pick, the smart thing is to make the safe pick.
    “Maybe” you’re passing on the next Peyton Manning, but 9 times out of 10 you’re not, and if the offensive tackle doesn’t work out you can move him to guard at least (Robert Gallery). If the QB doesn’t work out you’re screwed.

  33. I think this situation looks a bit more like Palmer and Kitna then it does Anderson and Quinn.
    For one thing, Kitna was closer in age to Culpepper now, and he was the ‘veteran who is only there to hold the fort down while they get the QB of the future ready.’ Also, when Quinn came in to the fold, they were actually trying to play with Charlie Frye, not Anderson.
    I see where you’re going with this, but you should have thought it out, Florio.

  34. Stafford is a really dumb pick. Let’s be serious here, they’re not gonna have a winning season next year. They have a qb already, and if they’re looking for a young guy to groom there are tons on the market and there is always next year’s crop. Why put all that money into a qb who’s going to do nothing to your bottom line of wins/losses? Obviously Cleveland wants to dump Quinn, and they can as long as he’s mostly an unknown. So he’s up for grabs. And you’d gather Anderson is also on the block (although I don’t know why) so he’s up for grabs. There are cheaper options.

  35. drmike81 says:
    April 23rd, 2009 at 1:59 pm
    Did you watch any of the lions games last year or were they all blacked out? The lions Defense was and still is one of the worst of all time. You have them upgrading at Tackle and upgrading at Running back with their first two picks.
    They will still be down 14 or 21 points every first quarter and I don’t think a Running Back and OT can help with that. If the lions take offensive players with their first 2 picks, i will eat my hat.
    Actually, your statement is both right and wrong. If you have a good o-line and solid running game it keeps your defense and the opposing team’s offense off the field so that they aren’t able to score those 14-21 points, or you can at least keep up to 21 points by controlling the clock. That being said, they do need to build their defense, but this draft isn’t gonna make their defense that much improved because of all of the holes so you better get your weapons so that you can keep up.

  36. “Even Matt Millen could’ve figured that one out.”
    No, he would draft Crabtree who would either break his collar bone, eat his way out of the league or prove to be an ego-maniacal turd with team-building skills the equal of T.O.
    With the second round pick he would select Percy Harvin, because you can never have enough receivers, especially ones with character issues.

  37. BTW, alot of 1st round QB’s have sat out their rookie years, but can you think of a 1st overall pick who rode the pine his first year?
    Or a top 5 pick even?
    The difference between a top 5 pick and pick #20 in the first round is about the same as the difference between a 2nd and a 4th round pick in terms of expectations and dollars.

  38. The Bears rebuild their O line and bring in a franchise QB.
    The Vikings are a QB away from a deep playoff run.
    Aaron Rodgers has a whole year under his belt to direct the GB offense.
    Yeah… the Lions are gonna win that one. The more likely situation, is Culpepper gets destroyed while the O line figures out what its doing, then when he’s broken, hopefully Stafford knows enough about the offense to take over.
    As a Bears fan, I want them to take Stafford. Even if the Bears can’t shake him, he’ll get nervous when Jared Allen drops him repeatedly two games a year.

  39. I think that after going 0-16, the Lions would be happy to win a game….or two….or three. To suggest they will challenge for the division is a pipe dream no matter how well they draft and who plays QB.

  40. “So we think they should take Jason Smith or Eugene Monroe, and hope that either of them will have a Joe Thomas-style impact on the offensive line, giving Culpepper ample time to launch missiles to Megatron”
    Florio, that may be your best piece of writing yet. Seriously, calling Calvin Johnson, Megatron, is effing brilliant!

  41. There’s one huge glaring difference between the Browns with Anderson and the Lions with Culpepper. Age. Derek Anderson is still in his mid 20s and arguably coming into his prime. Culpepper has 2 or 3 seasons at the MOST. If a decision had to be made, it’s pretty obvious that you go with the 21 year old first round pick over the 33 year old vet regardless of how well he performs. The Lions want to be successful for a lot of years, not just one.
    I say the situation is more like the Bengals when they had Kitna and Palmer. Kitna had a great season but they still bumped Palmer into the starting lineup when he was ready.

  42. Michael, a better analogy would have been Daunte Culpepper playing the Kurt Warner role and Matt Stafford becoming Matt Leinart (anchored to the bench/holding a clipboard). That’s why you don’t draft your QB of the future until needed.
    Of course, Culpepper is no Kurt Warner either–at least there’s no evidence of that thus far.

  43. Florio, I’m not sure if you are really that ignorant or if you are just trying to get a lot of people to comment on this story. . . . I suspect a bit of both .
    They have the worst defense maybe in the history of the NFL and you want them to spend their first 2 draft picks on offense?
    You sound like Millen.

  44. Why would the Detroit Lions draft left Tackle Jason Smith? Well
    they might win some football games… they will draft Stafford.
    They are the Detroit Lions perennial losers.

  45. Dude, we are talking about Daunte Culpepper! He is waaayyyyyyy done. I think he has proved over the last few year & few teams!

  46. Well there’s a fatal flaw in this scenario: Culpepper doing well.
    If it, somehow, were to happen, the Lions should do what Cleveland should have done: acted like it was the aberration it was, and leave the long-term plans untouched. You’d think they’d have learned from Kelly Holcomb: any backup with an arm can come in and succeed for a little while, but give NFL defensive coordinators a season to prepare, and nobody’s sneaking up on anybody.
    Frankly, I think that with his huge arm, healthy confidence level, good head on his shoulders, Megatron for a crutch, and a respectable running game, Stafford has all the elements to succeed right away. Frankly, if they sit him he may just get bored and frustrated. He’ll be better than Culpepper from Day One.
    Ty @ The Lions in Winter

  47. If they really want it to be like Anderson and Quinn then Cullpepper would have to have the worst overall passer rating in the NFL and still start while the young QB with tons of potential inexplicably watches from the sidelines. Then, Cullpepper finally gets benched and they are forced to put the younger QB in and he shows promise in his first start then breaks his finger in his second start and gets put on IR. Then, Cullpepper would have to go back in after losing his starting job and immediately injure his knee, forcing the Lions to bring in a QB off the streets to complete the 4 game sweep of 0 offensive touchdowns to end the season.
    That’s what the Browns went though last season. I’m not sure it could get that worse for any team. The only reason the Lions didn’t win a game is because the didn’t get lucky enough to play the Browns in the final four games of the season.

  48. Well the other aspect of this scenario aside from Culpepper being, well, bad is that Stafford riding the pine “learning the system” for however many seasons requires coaching continuity, and that generally requires team success.
    What good will “learning the system” do if the Lions are in the dregs of the league for the next couple seasons and the current coaching regime gets canned (Linehan hasn’t lasted anywhere yet…)? None – Stafford will have a great knowledge of Linehan’s system, and be back to square one learning a new OC’s system. In my opinion, you guarantee a guy $40 mill and make him the richest QB on the league, then you forget the cliche reasons to keep him on the bench and get his ass on the field on Sundays.

  49. The sad truth of the matter is Lions Management is brain dead! They are going to screw this up (draft) AGAIN. They have a chance to select 3 starters with their first 3 picks and they are going to select a QB that will NOT play this year and they are going to pay him in excess of 40 million to hold a fricking clipboard! I do not understand why they are being so stupid with this! Well, I do…afterall we are talking the Detroit Lions. I think they should select Curry with the 1st overall selection, with number 20, select any of the good tackels available and with the 33rd pick, select a DT or a good safety. But no, they are going to be stupid, once again. I totally ripped them in the Detroit News this morning over this. I thought in Mayhew perhaps we Detroit fans had some hope but I guess not. This is what happens when you have a fricking salesman running the team! Lewald is a complete jack ass and knows nothing about football operations. The amazing thing is Schwartz is a defensive coach and he should know better. What a bunch of fools!

  50. MORENO!?!? Are you freaking nuts? Second worst defense in NFL history and you say we take a RB with 20.
    We have a very good young RB in Kevin Smith, who, with a decent O line and servicable defense, will probly rush for 1500 yards this season (had around 950 yards last season in horrible conditions and only a handful of starts). Taking Moreno fixes absolutely nothing. Nor is he a good compliment to Smith who needs a partner with blazing speed, or a Bettis type runner.

  51. The entire article up until the last line was at least a good read. Not sure I agree with the whole controversy idea, but I do agree with the ultimate conclusion (drafting an OT at #1 is the smart choice). I’ve been saying all along they should draft OT at #1 and have never wavered on that.
    HOWEVER, the last line was just mind-blowingly dumb. Smith is a very solid starting RB, while their defense is beyond pitiful. It makes utterly no sense to draft another RB with that pick. If you wanna get another RB in round 4 or 5, fine. But not waste a first-round pick on Moreno when you have SO many *massive* holes on defense.
    In the event Moreno is on the board at #20, who knows, perhaps they could even find someone willing to trade up to get him, and earn themselves an additional pick in the process. That might be the best option of all.

  52. So…Stafford, Moreno….
    Can the pick up Mohammed Massaquoi too and then change their name to the Bulldogs??? (Packers already have the logo…damnit)

  53. Personally I’d want to get several solid players who could contribute right away and lay the foundation for a good team and then do what it takes to get Bradford or McCoy next year.

  54. Watered down NFC North? Isn’t it mainly the Lions themselves who are doing the watering?
    And c’mon – even Matt Millen could figure that out’? Since when? He wasn’t exactly known for investing in the offensive line. I know you think Millen is possibly the worst GM in professional sports history so I hope this is just a a hook for comments.
    Despite those two loony points you have the best website. I confess to checking it 3+ times a day. Keep it up. In fact, don’t keep your day job. Your work here is more important. It keeps us entertained. And when I say ‘us’ I am including all those guys who can’t wait to call you an idiot everyday.

  55. I agree with all your logic regarding drafting Stafford — but not on drafting Moreno. Last season, a middle school Pop Warner team could have scored 30 points on the Lions. The need more help on defense. I’m hoping that James Laurinaitis drops into the second round and the Lions can draft him with the 33rd pick.

  56. The Lions had the 2nd worst Defense in the history of football. And, I think they’ve had the worst defense in the NFL for 2 straight years.
    To say that they should draft a Lineman with the first pick and then a RB with their next pick in the first round lacks some significant insight.
    I agree that they need to improve their OL. And, I wouldn’t be upset with that pick at #1. But, they better spend the rest of the draft looking at the putrid defense afterward.
    Take a look at their projected starting MLB right now. I don’t even recognize his name.

  57. i think the thing is…no matter what team you are.
    if you have a great team around you, ANY team can make anyone a franchise quarterback.
    last year matt cassel hadn’t started a game since high school, yet he lead the patriots to 10 wins. Trent Dilfer of all people lead the Ravens to the super bowl…AND WON…same with Brad Johnson.
    A MLB is hard to find…because you can only think of about..maybe 2-3 of MLBS that come to mind when you think of cornerstone…urlacher..lewis…who else??
    if you can get a MLB at #1 overall, regardless of position, who you know who is going to come in day 1, work his bag off and strive to be the best MLB in the game…I say he is worth it.
    Ride Culpepper to whatever he will give you, and then next year take a QB because there is 3-4 qb’s coming out next year that are all better then Stafford is this year. Culpepper could be the next great QB here..we don’t know that. So if we draft Stafford, and Culpepper plays good this year, he starts next year, and if he does good…he resigns his contract..and Stafford doesn’t play for another…2…maybe 3, or 4 years…then what..we look HORRIBLE, and our defense STILL doesn’t have the cornerstone MLB, because the Cheifs took him with the 3rd overall pick and they are in the playoffs.
    Don’t mess this up Lions…or you will STILL be the laughing stock of the league, we NEED someone intimidating on the team, and a rocket arm, accuate, mobile, bench rider is NOT intimidating at all.

  58. Florio – Come on…. come to the real world. Lions winning the NFC North. That wouldn’t happen in the near future. Make some more sense such as Culpepper throwing for 4000+ yards etc.

  59. Linehan exhibited one of the most drab, unimaginative, submissive offensive minds ever seen in the NFL when he “coached” the Rams. Maybe drabness was the in thing in 2004. Or maybe Culpepper’s success had nothing to do with Linehan. (OK, we know Florio was chiming in for one of his old Vikings heroes. Second only to Pittsburgh great Haslett. For Florio, the Linehan-Haslett pairing must have been heaven on earth. Oh yeah, that’s right, he picked the Rams to win the Superbowl two years ago.)

  60. knowshon moreno??
    forgot about kevin smith?
    he is the real deal and they have
    MANY i stress MANY other pressing
    needs other than another RB
    who came up with that excretion?

  61. lmao@Florio.
    you said “lions” and “win the nfc north” in the same sentence without a not. That is the funniest line I’ve seen on here all week. Feel free to help yourself to a copy of a book no one will buy.

  62. You could still get the impact linebacker at 20 even if you go with offensive tackle. Maybe Pettigrew or package something to trade up and get Josh Freeman and still get your quarterback.

  63. pick 1: jason smith
    pick 20: peria jerry (maulauga is going to the chargers)
    pick 1/round 2: laurenitis
    with the exception of taking knowshon, i’m a believer in culpepper and the lions having a chance to win their division next year. look at what the dolphins did this past season after going 1-15 two seasons ago. if kerry collins can do it at 37, i’m sure culpepper can do it at 32, especially after being reunited with the offensive coordinator that made him who he is.

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