The debate over whether the starter should be Stafford or Daunte Culpepper has raged on from the second news broke that the Lions had signed the former Georgia Bulldog and decided on him as the top pick of the draft. Now, multiple minicamps, a training camp, and a preseason later, the rookie has played well enough to become the starter.
This move is risky in the sense that there really is no going back at this point. Stafford is the starter, and based on what Jim Schwartz said about the decision, the Lions are committed to him through the best and worst of times.
"I was very pleased with what (Stafford) did in the preseason, going back to rookie minicamp and straight through," Schwartz said. "I think he's proven every step along the way that he's ready."
Schwartz was asked Monday if he was committed to weathering the bumpy road with a rookie starting quarterback this season.
"This isn't an internship, this isn't a trial basis," Schwartz said. "He's our starting quarterback."
Stafford obviously proved himself enough in the preseason to get the starting nod. This isn't a case of Culpepper's injury slowing him down or anything like that. If that was why Stafford jumped ahead of Culpepper, Schwartz certainly wouldn't be so committed to him.
Earlier in the summer Schwartz outlined that Stafford would start when he is ready and when the Lions are ready for him. It was evident that Stafford was ready after only one preseason game, and obviously Schwartz has seen enough to know that the Lions are ready for their franchise QB to take the reins and lead this team. Rather than wait, Schwartz has decided that the future is now.