Matthew Stafford Vs. Daunte Culpepper: Flash Versus Substance

Chris StewardContributor IAugust 31, 2009

CLEVELAND - AUGUST 22:  Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions throws to a reciever against the Cleveland Browns during the second quarter of their NFL game in Cleveland Browns Stadium on August 22, 2009 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)

As we call can tell from the dead horse's bruised and battered flesh, there has been plenty of discussion about the QB situation in Detroit. But when a team goes 0-16 and has five different starters during that span, it's kind of understandable. But, before I continue, I would like to apologize to this horse before I take one more swing at its lifeless shell.

Here it goes.

There has been some discussion about the style of play between the two. Culpepper is showing patience and playing it safe while Stafford is slinging the ball all over the field trying to make plays. Of course people see the big arm and see big things in the future, but lets not get ahead of ourselves.

Patience is key with this offense.

Culpepper has shown accuracy and control of the offense on a consistent basis, which is exactly what this particular team needs. Besides Calvin Johnson and Kevin Smith, there is not a lot of proven talent on that side of the ball, which will cause for a more slow and methodical approach until others prove they are worth the defense's attention.

Also, a good offense is a defense's best friend.

And this defense needs all the friends it can get. As the defense has shown this preseason, tackling is not high on their list of things to accomplish. Sure the coaching staff is pretty adamant about it, but the players seem to not care too much.

Don't get me wrong, I thought the defense played well, but I can see defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham having a fit about turned down tackles again this week.  So, Daunte's approach of clock killing and extended drives are perfect, and much needed.

"But, Stafford looked great with his cannon arm!"

He sure did. But those passing lanes will not be there during the regular season.  During the Meaningless Season (which is not accurate at all), teams are not game planning as much as evaluating. 

They run basic schemes, call basic plays and look for basic things. Coaches are more worried about technique and not showing their hands to future opponents so plays will be there to be made. Stafford is making them now. 

But what about when the games count?  He already has three INTs in three games. Sure the pick on Saturday wasn't his fault, but what happens when he is in the entire game?  Over the course of three games he has played about 4 quarters.

One game—three picks and one touchdown.

This team isn't ready for his approach. I like his mentality but learning the offense behind Culpepper will make him a better player and the Lions a better team. 

There is no shame in sitting behind a former Pro Bowler (who, without the injury, may have had HOF considerations) who knows the offense. Maybe he should read the story about the Tortoise and the Hare. 

Slow and steady isn't always a bad thing.