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Advice to Schwartz: Make Decision Soon!

The San Fransisco 49ers got it right. They named Shaun Hill the starting quarterback for the season opener over Alex Smith. I would not even presume to know if Shaun Hill is a better quarterback, but I do know the 49ers were right in one aspect. They named their starter early. Jim Schwartz and the Detroit Lions need to do the same.

There is an ongoing debate in Detroit about whether it should be the veteran Daunte Culpepper or the 72 million dollar rookie Matthew Stafford. There are plenty of arguments for both sides, but whatever Schwartz is going to decide, he needs to decide soon.

Both Stafford and Culpepper are new to the Lions. Stafford is a rookie and has never played for any NFL team much less the Lions and Culpepper was signed in 2008 and played very little. Two of the three starting receivers for the Lions are new this season. The Lions will likely be playing with a new Tight End as well. The offensive line is now running a power block scheme rather than a zone block. It takes time for all of this to gel together and the quarterback is at the center of that gelling.

The Lions can practice until their faces turn Honolulu Blue, but the practice can only take them so far. Game action is a whole new level. Schwartz has said he might play the starters for a half in the fourth preseason game as well. Very few teams in the NFL if any play their starters much in the fourth preseason game. The Lions however, need that extra work. To keep the quarterback competition going even another week would only harm them. Who ever is going to be the starting quarterback needs time to get used to his receivers and linemen in real game action. One quarter of action each in the last two weeks of the preseason just won't cut it.

Anyone who knows me, knows I think Culpepper should start. If Schwartz comes out and names Stafford the starter, I will be fine with that. Just so long as he names him now and not wait another week before doing it. The quarterback needs more reps with the first team before the season starts, especially if it is Stafford, a rookie.

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