Earlier this week Drew Stanton made some headlines for his comments about the Lions' quarterback situation and how he would feel about being the third-string quarterback. Basically his comments were portrayed as him wanting to be at least the backup or not be in Detroit at all, as suggested by this headline from the Free Press: "Drew Stanton would prefer to leave than be No. 3 QB." Sensationalizing someone's comments with an attention-grabbing headline is nothing new, so let's just get to what he actually said.
If the Lions aren’t going to give him a legitimate shot to compete for the No. 2 QB job, would he prefer to move on?
"Um, yeah," Stanton said today as the Lions cleaned out their lockers. "I think I’ve talked about it with coach Schwartz, even. He said you can’t survive in this league as a No. 3. It just doesn’t happen, because there’s always going to be guys coming in, in the rookie class. It’s a matter of trying to establish myself at least as a backup in this league."
As you can see, Stanton said he would prefer to move on if he isn't given a legitimate shot at being the backup. That is much different than saying he would prefer to move on if he isn't the backup. Either way, Stanton put up a post on his blog to clear up his thoughts on the situation.
You can usually tell when you are being set up or pigeonholed into saying something that the media is looking for. I got that feeling today and should have followed my instincts. Let me clarify something once and for all, I WANT TO BE IN DETROIT in whatever capacity I can be!!!
I never said that I did not want to be in Detroit if I was to be the third string quarterback, I merely stated that third-string quarterbacks do not have long careers. I for one, would love to have a long career. I recognize the importance of showing this franchise that my worth can exist as a backup. I know what my role has the potential to be as the Detroit Lions move forward and that is what I am focused on.
Regarding if Stanton will stay with the Lions in 2010 and if he will actually be given a shot at the backup job, Martin Mayhew had this to say:
As for Stanton, "Drew's coming back. Drew is a still developing guy, I thought he made tremendous strides from the beginning of the year through the season. He's a young guy that we drafted and we still believe in Drew Stanton. We're going to keep working with him and try to develop him."
But will he compete for the No. 2 job?
"I can tell you at this point there's no depth chart right now, and I can tell you at this point that he's coming back."
Stanton wasn't the only quarterback Mayhew talked about when he spoke to the media. Daunte Culpepper came up in the conversation, and Mayhew essentially left the door for Culpepper to return open.
"I wouldn't rule out bringing Daunte back. All Daunte has done for us from the first day that we brought him is, is everything we've asked him to do. Sometimes his performance hasn't been what we wanted, but there's a bunch of guys in that locker room (you could) say the same thing about. They're good guys, they work hard, but they haven't made the play when a play needed to be made. All he's done from Day 1 is everything that we asked him to do."
Before you go crazy over the possibility that Culpepper might return, please realize that Mayhew, as he said, simply didn't rule that out. Obviously the Lions will be looking for a veteran quarterback to compete for the backup job, and if by some chance they can't find anyone that is an upgrade over Culpepper, then he could return for another season in Detroit.
Culpepper released a statement on Mayhew's comments also basically leaving the door open, saying he will "welcome dialogue with Mr. Mayhew about their plans." My guess is Culpepper will attempt to find a place where he can compete for the starting job before doing anything with the Lions, and if (more like when) he realizes that that's not possible, my guess is Mayhew will be one of the first people he calls.