Should Stanton Start?

Alliteration aside, this becomes a very serious question for Lions fans.

I think initially, everyone is looking at the success of Trent Edwards (picked after Stanton in the same draft), the loss of Kitna for the year (perhaps a positive) as well as the hopelessness of the rest of the season, and starting Stanton is a no-brainer.

Fans start saying to themselves, "Hey, let's throw the kid out there and see what he can do." Or possibly saying, "He needs to get game experience, and now that he is healthy, why not throw him in there." That was my initial thought as well, but then I had a change of heart. 

One thing Lions fans have become accustomed to is the porous offensive line. Year after year becomes sack after sack to Lions fans. In fact, so far this year, the Lions have given up the second most sacks in the league with 22. Only the 49ers have given up more with 23, and they have yet to have their bye week (Kinda makes you feel bad for former Lion and current 49ers starter J.T. O'Sullivan). 

Second, the Lions transition from a pass-happy system under former offensive coordinator Mike Martz to a more run-oriented team has been slow. If your offensive line can't block, running the ball is going to be tough no matter who is starting in the backfield. Without a balanced run game to go along with the passing game, teams will key on the quarterback, and blitz to no end.

It also doesn't help when your defense is giving up boatloads of points, forcing your offense to pass to conserve time. Teams know what is coming from the Lions and can game plan to attack an inexperienced quarterback. 

All this leads to one thing, a quarterback who is going to be under enormous pressure.

If the Lions really do believe that Stanton is a quarterback that they want to last for more than a few seasons, they would be wise to limit how much time he sees this year. We've seen quarterbacks who are expected to go out and become the teams starter the very first year. Some succeed (Matt Ryan so far, Peyton Manning), most don't (Joey Harrington, Ryan Leaf, David Carr, Cade McNown, I know, what a name to pull from the past).

The Lions aren't one step away, and forcing a quarterback to start on a bad team usually leads to the team getting even worse. The last thing I want to see happen to Stanton is to get happy feet from fear of constant pressure.

That being said, they do need to get him into games, but don't throw him in as the starter. Give him a few reps during competitive game experiences, such as the two or three possessions in the second quarter, if he responds well during the game, keep him out there, but if not, no reason to hang him out to dry. 

What does this mean for Dan Orlovsky? Well, he may not enjoy this, but essentially games become an open tryout for him. Do well on the field, the coaches won't pull you in favor of Stanton. Do poorly and you might as well start updating your resume for next year.

Plus, unless you are planning to keep him around for a serious shot at starting next season, why would it matter if you hurt his feelings? I'm not saying the Lions need to burn bridges, but they need to be looking for who works best for the team going forward.

With the moves made in the past few weeks as well as the past few days, the Lions are showing they want to get a fresh start. I just hope the fresh start does not mean throwing Stanton into the fire. 



This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Pride Of Detroit or its writers.