When Will Matthew Stafford See the Field?

Leo ShineContributor IApril 14, 2009

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 22:  Quarterback Matthew Stafford of USC passes the football during the NFL Scouting Combine presented by Under Armour at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 22, 2009 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images)

All of the Matt Stafford-to-Detroit talk, including Stafford allegedly telling fellow Bulldogs he will be a Lion and get $40 million guaranteed, leads me to believe he will be a Lion. The next question is, what will his timeframe be for seeing action?

I do not feel that he is the right pick with Detroit's defensive needs. If he is, when can we expect to see him play? Will the Lions develop him slowly, or will they throw him in the fire right away?

If Culpepper can stay healthy and run the offense efficiently, the Lions should let Stafford come along slowly. A year on the bench could in no way hurt his development.

Teams have paid big money for rookie quarterbacks to ride the pine in the past, and it usually pays off in the long run.

This Lions team is not going to contend for the playoffs regardless of who is throwing the ball. It would be wise to let the team learn the offense with Culpepper taking the reins. Stafford will be better served with a line and receivers who know the playbook and understand the scheme.

If Culpepper is absolutely terrible or has health issues is when things will get interesting. Should the Lions start Stafford or Stanton? Where they are at in the schedule may be the determining factor.

I think Stafford would beat Stanton in an open competition, but that does not necessarily mean he should get the start. Stanton may be the Lions long-term backup. Why not see what he is capable of?

I do expect Stafford to see the field at some point late in the season, though whether it be mop-up time or starts remains to be seen.  

It would be nice to see this team let Stafford develop so there is no question that he has a fair chance to learn the offense and get acclimated to the NFL. With two offseasons and one season under his belt, he should be ready to start next year.