Detroit Lions: Behind Matthew Stafford, Lions are Deep at Quarterback

Seattle Lion FanAnalyst IIOctober 23, 2010

The Franchise, no doubt
The Franchise, no doubtJeff Gross/Getty Images

While many fans bemoaned the first game of the season when Matthew Stafford went down with a shoulder injury, no one expected the fine job that Shaun Hill did while keeping the seat warm.

Sure, the record is 1-5 but can anyone deny the fact that Hill gave the Lions a shot to win each game played?

It has been stated that Hill is prone to throwing interceptions.  Name one QB that hasn't been intercepted at a bad time in the game and I'll give you my next 10 paychecks.

A quick look at the leader board shows Hill has thrown seven interceptions this year.  Not the league leader but tied for fourth.  But he has some pretty darn good company with just as many or more: Sam Bradford (eight), Eli Manning (eight), Brett Favre (seven), Aaron Rodgers (seven), Tony Romo (seven) and David Garrard (seven).

It may not be fair to lump Bradford in here but with the obscene amount of money he makes, I have no issues with not being fair.

Stafford is no doubt the top dog (or cat as it may be) for the Lions at quarterback.  Hill has a two-year contract and I'm fairly certain that teams in need of a possible starter next year, may be willing to trade multiple mid to high-level draft picks for Hill given he's shown he can play and play well.

That leaves us with Drew Stanton, the much-maligned MSU Spartan.  I've read several pieces about him, most recently Shawn Windsor's piece in today's Detroit Free Press: "Lions QB Drew Stanton Out to Prove He Belongs."

For those who need a refresher, Stanton has had a pretty rocky road in the NFL.  He was drafted a bit high in my opinion taken in the second round in 2007.  The Lions could have grabbed him in the fourth or fifth round.

Stanton had a good career as a Spartan.  In his three years as a starter, he threw for 6,485 yards, 42 touchdowns and 26 interceptions which is a decent TD to INT ratio.  He completed 64 percent of his passes and did not have a passer rating below 131.  So I can understand the attraction the Lions and many other teams had for him.

But he came to the Lions and was severely screwed up by the supposed "genius" Mike Martz.  He re-worked Stanton's mechanics instead of trying to augment his better assets such as making plays with his feet and rolling him out to shine as a passer.

It was noted in some of the comments of the article above that Stanton was a fast-running quarterback in college but at the pro level, his speed was merely average.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but a fast 40 isn't what most teams look for in a quarterback.  Besides, that 30-yard run he had against the Giants showed some good open-field running.  And he was smart enough to get into the slide to avoid taking a big hit.

When were the Lions this deep at quarterback?  The best depth ever was back in the '50s with Bobby Layne and Tobin Rote, both who led the Lions to championships.  Rote is the last quarterback in Lions history to do so.

Fast forward to the days of Greg Landry and Bill Munson in the 1970s.  Greg Landry is the only Detroit Lions quarterback ever to go to the Pro Bowl.

Perhaps the weakest but still decent was the trio of Gary Danielson, Eric Hipple and Jeff Komlo in the 1980s.

The most successful since the 1950s was Rodney Peete and Erik Kramer prior to the Scott Mitchell days.

After Mitchell, we had starters such as Charlie Batch, Gus Frerotte, Ty Detmer, Joey Harrington and Jon Kitna.  Of this group, I'd say Batch was the best despite Kitna's two 4,000-yard seasons.  Kitna was too interception-prone.

The Lions would do well in keeping both Shaun Hill and Drew Stanton.  Both have shown the ability to spark the team and move them downfield—Hill with his accuracy and Stanton with his ability to make plays on the move.

But keeping players is an issue with every team.  You know that Hill wants to start again and with Stafford entrenched with the Lions, unless he implodes, that ain't gonna happen.  Stanton realizes he'll never get that opportunity and he wants to stay with the Lions.  So why not keep him?  If Mayhew can get good multiple picks for Hill, I have no worries with Stanton as second string.

The Lions have a "good" problem at quarterback for once.