All four of the Detroit Lions' quarterbacks looked pretty good last Friday against the Cincinnati Bengals. It's no surprise considering there is a lot of talent from top to bottom at the position. General manager Martin Mayhew said a couple weeks ago that quarterback was the one position on the roster that couldn't be upgraded since it already is in such good shape, and we all saw why last Friday.
All along the belief has been that the Lions will go into the regular season with three quarterbacks: Matthew Stafford, Shaun Hill and Drew Stanton. Stafford is the starter as long as he's healthy, and Hill appears to be entrenched as the backup. That leaves Stanton as the third-string quarterback and Zac Robinson without a spot on the team unless something unexpected happens.
According to Tom Kowalski, something unexpected could be unfolding during training camp -- Robinson beating out Stanton for the third quarterback spot on the team. It's not clear if Kowalski is basing this off of what he's seen in camp or what team sources are saying or both, but he raises an interesting possibility. If Robinson shows coaches he has more upside than Stanton, could the Lions keep the former Oklahoma State Cowboy instead of the former Michigan State Spartan?
The way Kowalski sees it right now, the Lions aren't going to be able to stash Robinson on the practice squad. The ideal scenario would be to go with Stafford, Hill and Stanton on the 53-man roster and Robinson on the practice squad, but it doesn't sound like it's a very likely scenario. After all, the Lions originally got Robinson off the Seahawks practice squad. Seattle mistakenly thought it could hide Robinson and ended up losing him as a result.
If Robinson does indeed show he has more upside, the conundrum for the Lions is whether they should go with a player that has already shown he can win games or a player that looks like he could be better in the future. Stanton has proven he can lead the Lions to victory, and I have a tough time seeing them getting rid of him, especially when last year showed the third-string quarterback could actually see the field. If it were a situation where the third-string QB is unlikely to ever play, I could understand going with a younger player with more upside. Since it's not, I'd prefer to keep a player with actual experience.
Regardless of which QB the Lions keep for their third spot at the position, I'm starting to think someone will be traded. Again, I'm not sure what Kowalski's speculation on Robinson pushing Stanton for the third QB job is based on, but part of me thinks the Lions are trying to drum up some hype for Robinson. If he is unlikely to end up on the practice squad because another team is going to snatch him up, it would make sense to trade him rather than cut him. The same could be said for Stanton if the Lions opt for Robinson I suppose. Mayhew is the kind of GM that would swindle a pick or player out of a team for a player getting cut anyway, so I could see it happening.
For now this is merely something to discuss, but going forward it will be interesting to watch how both Stanton and Robinson play during the preseason. I would be very surprised if Stanton lost his job to Robinson, but stranger things have happened for sure.