Detroit Lions

Drew Stanton To Start Sunday for Lions

DETROIT - DECEMBER 20:  Drew Stanton #5 the Detroit Lions throws a third quarter pass while playing the Arizona Cardinals on December 20, 2009 at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. Arizona won the game 31-24. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Joe HojnackiContributor IDecember 23, 2009

Tom Kowalski of makes it official. Drew Stanton will start on Sunday for the Lions as they take on the San Francisco 49ers.

The move was only half expected after the near comeback on Sunday afternoon.

The team and the fans seemed to rally more around the former Spartan than they did around the aging Culpepper. Stanton is not a better quarterback than Culpepper is, but if the team wants to play there is no reason to sit him down.

This move makes plenty of sense for a number of reasons.

First, Culpepper is a lame duck who will be out of a job after Jan. 3. The Lions will not re-sign him and it is possible that no team in the NFL will sign him, especially not with the intent of making him a starter. He has lost the arm strength, he has sat too much to be sharp on the field, and his legs are not what they used to be.

Second, we need to see if Stanton can be a viable backup, at least for next season. The Lions would rather have a guy behind their savior that has at least had some experience in the NFL. Yes, it is only one game, but the team needs to know if Stanton can become the guy to fall back on in case anything happens to Stafford.

Drew Stanton does not improve the Lions' odds of winning against San Francisco on Sunday, but he does provide a better outlook for the team's future. Every team needs a backup quarterback and the Lions need to know if they have theirs or not.

As for how well Stanton will play on Sunday, I think he will throw three interceptions, complete less than 40 percent of his pass attempts, and the Lions will have to rely on the running game in order to stay in the game.

It won't be pretty, but it would be the same, if not worse if Culpepper were starting.

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