Detroit Lions QB Situation: A Comparative Analysis

Michael SuddsCorrespondent IOctober 24, 2010

Mr. Stafford, meet Mr. Peppers
Mr. Stafford, meet Mr. PeppersJonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Detroit Lions have been an injury-plagued group at quarterback. Matt Stafford, the “franchise,” lasted but one half of the season opener against the Chicago Bears.

Mr. Stafford, meet Mr. Julius Peppers. Exit Mr. Stafford, or, “Glassford,” if you prefer, until Week 8.

So much for the franchise.

Enter backup QB Shaun Hill, who guided the Lions to the highest echelons of offensive scoring in the NFL while being a red zone interception machine.

This contradiction is a conceptual anomaly. How could Hill rack up such incredible numbers—over 1,300 yards passing and ranked 14th among NFL quarterbacks in passing yards—and have only one win to show for it?

First, you must realize that Hill is the second-leading rusher on the Lions team.

Let that sink in for a moment.

Yep, you are correct in in your well-grounded belief that the Lions cannot run the ball. This well-founded belief is becoming mantra among the Lions' opposing defensive coordinators. They know. They scheme. They win.

The Lions have no running game.

Hill, whose season came to an end in New Jersey at the yet-to-be-named New Meadowlands Stadium (I am officially soliciting corporate sponsorship for a modest fee, of course), where he suffered a broken left arm.

Enter Drew Stanton, a guy who has hung in there by dint of...well, there’s nobody else on the bench.

Stanton, who looked like a certain cut at the end of camp, came into the game and promptly guided the Lions into another tantalizing position to win, only to be betrayed by late turnovers.

After the Lions bye week, Matthew Stafford will return to the helm. In the absence of a third QB, the Lions will, once again, press WR Derrick Williams into an emergency third QB role.

Quite possibly the most important "contribution" of Williams’ career.

I’d much rather see Williams chucking the rock than dropping it.

There’s no doubt that the Lions QB situation is in a state of flux.

If you think that the Lions are playing the Lone Ranger on the QB carousel, just look about you.

Cleveland Browns

The Cleveland Browns have had the most interesting voyage on the way to a 1-5 record. Jake Delhomme was anointed in training camp as the No. 1, Godfather, rent-money lock to lead a rebuilding Browns team to the playoffs.

Woo-hoo! Eric Mangini is a genius!


Delhomme was a bust before he suffered a high ankle sprain, and is likely to be a bust after his return to duty.

Seneca Wallace, who was favored by many to be the Browns opening day starting QB, fared no better. Wallace actually had more attempts, more completions and a better performance overall.

Wallace suffered a high ankle sprain, and has been lost for a while.

Enter rookie Colt McCoy. McCoy was fairly solid in his only start. He went 23-of-33 for one TD. The bad news is that McCoy was sacked five times and pitched an INT. Where was Joe Thomas?

A quarterback controversy in the making in Cleveland? You betcha.

Buffalo Bills

Let’s move on to Buffalo. The Bills entered the season with Trent Edwards as the starter, but Edwards was not only demoted after Week 2, he was released by the Bills after Week 3.

Wham! Bam! Thank you, ma’am!

Ryan Fitzpatrick took over the poisoned QB position, and the Harvard graduate has done a credible job with a 99.9 passer rating.

The Bills fallback positions at QB? Brian Brohm and Levi Brown.

That’s a Bills powerhouse! OK, I’m just kidding.

I wonder which QB the Bills will be selecting with that first-round pick in 2011? Hmm.

San Francisco 49ers

Then we have the San Francisco 49ers. They have made for one of the more entertaining soap operas in the NFL (Favre and Roethlisberger notwithstanding) that we’ve seen on live TV.

Let’s review.

The 49ers had way too many quarterbacks (four) on the roster during the preseason. Alex Smith, Shaun Hill, David Carr and Troy Smith. What did San Francisco do to add value to the team while loosening the logjam at QB?

Trade Shaun Hill to Detroit on March 15th for a conditional (read seventh-round) draft pick in 2011.

How did that work out for you, San Fran?

Now, we are treated with the eye candy of a head coach, Mike Singletary, lecturing QB Alex Smith pointedly on the sidelines. Smith then steams on the field.

Did anybody else read Singletary’s lips on the sidelines?

Poor Mike Singletary. He deserved better than this, didn’t he?

Carolina Panthers

In the 2010 draft, the Panthers selected two quarterbacks. In the first round, the Panthers selected Jimmy Clausen. OK, I’ll give you that one—he was the best QB remaining in the second round.

Then, in some indefinable rationale, the Panthers selected Tony Pike with one of their four sixth-round draft picks.

C’mon, man?

OK, so here’s how the Panthers roll. They (head coach John Fox) start Matt Moore for two opening season losses, then bench him for Clausen for a couple of games so that he (Moore) can see what’s going on from the sidelines. A learning experience, or so it was couched by Fox.


Now, the Panthers reinsert the newly reeducated Moore as the starting QB. Of course, Moore has a firm grasp on the offense after being benched, er, reeducated for two weeks.

Yeah, right!

Moore is as clueless as the rookies. Panthers head coach John Fox may be on the hottest seat in the NFL until you take a peek forward.

Next week, the Panthers entertain the San Francisco 49ers. The “Futility Bowl.“ We all enjoyed the angst when the Cowboys (how ‘bout them Boys!) played the hapless Vikings in the “Panic Bowl.“

This 49ers vs. Panthers matchup holds all of the spine-tingling excitement of the Cowboys vs. Vikings tilt, with one important difference:

Which head coach will be out of a job come next Monday?


So, my friends, I pose to you a simple question:

Whose quarterbacks would you rather have moving forward?

The Buffalo Bills?

The Cleveland Browns?

The San Francisco 49ers?

The Carolina Panthers?

Or the Detroit Lions?

We could talk about the soon-to-be sidelined Jay Cutler, or the Jags foundering quarterback situation with David Garrard, backed up by Trent Edwards, who we’ve already talked about.

We could also give Minnesota an honorable mention, with Father Time (Favre) and Tarvaris Jackson waiting patiently in the wings. We are on Moss watch. As of today, Moss has played one game and has not blown a gasket.


How valuable is Detroit’s backup QB, Shaun Hill? Even with a broken arm, Hill’s value has soared. Mayhew will have to hire an extra secretary to field the trade offers that will be forthcoming in the offseason.

Mostly by the teams mentioned above.

Detroit’s quarterback situation is tenuous, bordering on serious, and close to catastrophic.

Yet, I would not trade the Lions QB situation for the QB nightmares of some of the other bottom feeders of the NFL.

Would you?

Mike Sudds is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Mike is also an analyst and correspondent for


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