Matthew Stafford Will Determine Drew Stanton's Future As A Detroit Lion

Shawn HaleContributor IMay 27, 2009

ATHENS, GA - SEPTEMBER 27:  Quarterback Matthew Stafford #7 of the Georgia Bulldogs points out assignments at the line of scrimmage while taking on the Alabama Crimson Tide at Sanford Stadium on September 27, 2008 in Athens, Georgia. Alabama defeated Georgia 41-30.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)

Drew Stanton should be rooting for Matthew Stafford to impress the entire coaching staff throughout training camp; his job depends on it.

Stanton was a Matt Millen draft pick, and it was obvious Millen went against his coaches and scouts with the pick in the second round —the Lions promptly put Stanton on IR and changed his mechanics once drafted.

(There was also that Jim Colletto quote about embarrassing Stanton to prove a point to the media.)

Coming out of Michigan State, Stanton was known as a gamer. He was considered tough, strong armed, and agile.  However, he was injury prone and inconsistent.

The new front office has made it clear they will not hesitate to sign a veteran quarterback if needed.  However, Stanton's performance may not determine it as much Stafford's will.

Daunte Culpepper will undoubtedly begin the season as the starter.

The back up quarterback job, however, is still undecided.

The issue is not if Stanton can handle the number three quarterback job, it is whether or not Stafford will be ready if forced into action early in the season.   If Stafford proves not ready to be the back up, then they will be forced to find a quality veteran back up which would likely end Stanton's time with the Lions. 

There is no doubt that Stafford has the tools to become a very solid NFL quarterback, but the Detroit Lions can not afford to make a mistake in his development.  Considering Culpepper's injury history and the horrible offensive line, there is a strong possibility that the back up could be forced into action sooner than later.

Stanton either needs to outplay both Stafford and Culpepper to secure the back up quarterback job, or he needs Stafford to push Culpepper for the starting job.

Stanton really does have some good NFL quarterback qualities, but he just isn't ready to be considered a back up quarterback in this league yet.

The only certainty in Detroit is to develop Stafford the correct way.  He will play when the entire organization feels he is ready and not a moment sooner or later.

Unfortunately that could cost Stanton his job with his hometown team.