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Should Stafford Play with Injured Knee?

Jim Schwartz will only say that his rookie quarterback, Matthew Stafford is day to day. Stafford will not discuss any details on the injury other than that it is not the same injury he suffered in high school. Nobody is talking and the Lions fans are left to make assumptions. So here is mine....

It does not matter! It is that simple. It simply doesn't matter if his knee is days away or weeks away from being ready to play. It doesn't matter if it is the same injury from high school or not. It does not matter, because Stafford has not practiced and therefore should not play this week.

This has nothing to do with the fact I don't think he should have been starting from week-1. This has everything to do with common sense. He is a rookie and the future of the Detroit Lions. He needs repetitions. If a veteran quarterback misses a week of practice, it is still no easy thing to enter a game and look crisp. For a rookie, who is still learning the scheme and how to read defenses, it is far more difficult. If a rookie quarterback misses a week of practice, you just should not throw him back into the wolves. Especially when the wolves are the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Lions should play Daunte Culpepper this week and I cannot believe I am saying this but if Stafford practices next week, then you put him back in. The last thing the Lions need is a quarterback controversy. Schwartz should come out and say that Culpepper will start, but it is only for the short term and when Stafford is ready he will resume the role as the Lions starting quarterback. The only possible way this should lead to a controversy is if Stafford misses more than two weeks and Culpepper wins both games against the Steelers and after the bye week against the Rams. In that case you have to question whether to bench a quarterback who is winning. Other than that very slim chance, the Lions quarterback is Stafford and everyone knows he will take the reins again when he is healthy.

The first two weeks of the season, Stafford was far from ready to be playing. In fact, I do believe that if Culpepper had been playing, the Lions would have won the game against Minnesota. I felt the Lions should have sat Stafford for the first season and if not the whole season, until at least after the bye-week. They started him right away and took an extra loss because of that decision. Now however, Stafford has had the extra repetitions and is starting to come along. The injury might set him back a little and now after the bye-week he will be right back to where he would have been if he waited in the first place. Maybe slightly ahead of schedule but that little difference was not worth taking the extra loss.

Extra loss or not though, the job should be Stafford's now so long as he is healthy. But only if he is healthy. If he misses a week of practice, he should not play. Once he is back in practices, then he is put back in. No controversy, just simple common sense.

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