Stafford, Culpepper keep battling

Here are four words that haven’t found their way into the same sentence very often in recent years:  Good news from Detroit.

But it’s true. In the Lions’ preseason game against the Colts, 2009 first overall pick Matthew Stafford and veteran Daunte Culpepper are getting it done.  And, as a result, they’re putting head coach Jim Schwartz into a welcome bind.

In the first half of this matinee televised by NFL Network, Culpepper started, completing seven of 12 passes for 67 yards, with a first-quarter touchdown pass to Bryant Johnson from 3 yards out.

Stafford came in to begin the second quarter with the score tied at 7 and, against what appeared to be most of the Colts’ starting unit, directed a nice drive that ended in a field goal.

Included on that drive was a frozen rope completion to Calvin Johnson on third-and-9 that traveled 40 yards and probably never got above 15 feet in the air. Stafford also gave a little glimpse of things to come via two nice hookups with tight end Brandon Pettigrew, the 20th overall pick in this year’s draft.

The drive stalled inside the five when Stafford couldn’t connect with Johnson on a couple of lobs into the end zone.  On the first try, the pass was completed, but the timing was off as Johnson came down with both feet out of bounds.  The second attempt was nearly hauled in by Johnson on his fingertips but was broken up.

Stafford ran the two-minute drill before the half and got the ball out to around midfield before getting picked on a bomb intended for Bryant Johnson with time running out. Stafford finished the half completing 7 of 10 throws for 76 yards. 

Coming off last week’s unimpressive outing against the Browns, Stafford looked much better.  Schwartz said he may start Stafford in the preseason finale next Saturday and that he may not name a starter for the team’s opener at New Orleans until the week of the game.  

Meanwhile, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen tweets (I love that that’s a verb nobody knew a year ago and now everyone gets) that, unless Stafford face-plants, he’ll be the Week One starter.

13 responses to “Stafford, Culpepper keep battling

  1. The Lions are stacked. Stafford, C. Johnson, and Petigrew!
    That entire division is in the beginning stages of becoming one of the leagues best

  2. With Dante only having a year left on his contract… he should be given the reigns… then Stafford should take over after week 4 if things aren’t going well.
    However, the more important thing that happened in the game was that Drew Stanton looked very impressive (again). Talk should be about how much longer he’s signed for and let him compete for the #2 spot at least in preps for next year when Stafford will need to be pushed further.
    But game notes… the DL still looks like swiss cheese, and Peyton Manning picked our corners/safeties apart. The running game looked good, until we were inside the 3 yard line and couldn’t pound it in.
    I’m glad we won the game, but in reality we lost the first drives of both halves and that is how I judge the 3rd game of the pre-season.

  3. Another question… why were there no articles about the Jim Schwartz connection to wanting to beat his former division rival, the Colts.
    There are so many angles there… look forward to see if something comes from that, ie coaching tree, system or practice nuances because of this matchup/rivalry.

  4. ‘Matthew Stafford and veteran Daunte Culpepper are getting it done.”
    The Lions went 4-0 last preseason, so “getting it done” should have little meaning for them right now. This should be about whatever their long-term strategy for winning the Super Bowl in a few years might be. A small number of series in the preseason should have no bearing on whether or not Stafford starts the season on the field or on the bench, because that decision should have been made as part of the long-term plan. For the Lions, this season is going to be a throw away. They need to be looking 3 years down the road at this point.

  5. Glad Tom Curran mentioned TE Pettigrew. He did look good in his first pre-season game, but more impressive was the fact that Stafford kept finding him and getting him the ball.

  6. the lions blew it by handing the keys to hasbeen chauncey pullpecker last year.
    stanton needed game time. orlovsky wasnt that bad.
    if pullpecker is starting after the bye, and the other 2 QBs arent hurt, u can forget the lions fielding a competitive team in 2010.

  7. I’m happy for Detroit that both Stafford and Culpepper are looking good in the preseason. Fans forget that in 2007 the Lions had a QB that completed 63.3% of his passes for over 4000 yards despite being sacked over 50 times, and led the team to an amazing 7 wins, a huge improvement over previous seasons. None of those numbers except taking sacks will be matched this year. And why did the improvement and growth in 2007 collapse in disastrous ’08? Because Kitna and others key players and coaches responsible for the 07 success (by Lions standards) were run out of town.
    So let’s wait to see how things go with the Lions before getting giddy.

  8. If the Lions were smart they’d let Culpicker get beat up, before the kid is in there. See Carr, David

  9. Either way I don’t think you can’t help but move forward. What makes me laugh are the Stanton apologists. Yes, he did good against 3rd/4th string defenses. The problem is you don’t play 3rd and 4th string defenses in regular games. Shut up and quit talking about him. He’ll never start a game (outside of injury) on any team so just let it go. Seriously, you’re talking about a guy who’s backing up a washed up has-been and a completely green rook. MOVE ON.

  10. @lololnpnp – Yes, he is playing against 2-3 string guys… A few points – He has been very consistent when given the chance with the 2-3 string players on offense. Meaning the whole team was at 2-3 string, and if he stands out, maybe he should be given a chance at the back up role, right?
    Also, last year when he was healthy… he came into games and went 3-4 with a TD and was consistent against 1st team defenses.
    So, I agree that the Detroit Lions have Culpepper and Stafford as our “starters”… I’m just saying that when his contract comes up… pay him as a back up to Matt Stafford, keep him around. He is good enough to compete in this league and I hope he stays with this team for a long time.
    I think Staton solidifying our back up role would be something we haven’t had in Detroit since Tobin Rote replace Bobby Layne… trust me the Erik Kramer/Rodney Peete QB competition was not at this level. Both should’ve been career backups.

  11. 1. The guy who thinks he’s clever for coming up with “Pullpecker” needs to be slapped. Repeatedly. A much worse fate awaits the other guy, who is referring to him as “Culpicker.” You to are seriously lending to the argument that Michigan folk are uneducated. Unless you are 14 or younger, you should be ashamed of yourself. You can voice an opinion without all of this elementary school name calling.
    2. Stafford to Johnson gives Lions fans hope. Kevin Smith gives us an element of deception. Pettigrew gives us options. Now let’s hope they have a plan going forward… either beef up the O-line through the draft / free gency and create a high powered, well panned offense; or have a one- or two- year plan to turn the defense around, and we could be playoff contenders by 2011.
    I’m a slappy at this point. I love Coach Schwartz, and I can’t argue with any of the moves made so far by the Mayhew / Lewand team. Hell, I’m even satisfied with Stafford, even though I wanted Andre Smith or B.J. Raji to go #1 overall.
    We might actually look like an NFL caliber team once in a while this season!!!

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