Why Daunte Culpepper Deserves to Be The Lions Starting Quarterback

Drew RappleyContributor IApril 17, 2009

CHARLOTTE, NC - NOVEMBER 16:  Quarterback Daunte Culpepper #11 of the Detroit Lions reacts after a play during their NFL game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on November 16, 2008  in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Panthers defeated the Lions 31-22. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Much has been made of the Lions current Quarterback situation. Draft Stafford, Draft Sanchez, things of that nature.

If the Lions would go the unfortunate route in drafting Matthew Stafford, then where does that leave Daunte Culpepper?

A possible competition for the job during training camp? Maybe, have Stafford prove his worth by making him earn the job.

Daunte Culpepper has earned this job; yes, he went 0-4 in the games he started last season, didn't light up the stat sheets, made some bad decisions, but in games against Carolina and Minnesota, he put Detroit in a position to win.

One thing Culpepper haters and Stafford/Sanchez lovers (outside of Detroit) fail to realize is that, he was brought in during the middle of the season, in an already tough season where he had to immediately earn the respect and trust of the locker room and coaches.

He was signed on Nov. 3 which was a Monday, and then the Lions coaches gave him five days and a few morning hours to learn the playbook and then had him go start a game vs. Jacksonville.

I would love to see Matthew Stafford or Mark Sanchez try and do any better than Culpepper could with a crap offensive line and one great receiver.

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Now I'm not knocking Stafford or Sanchez; I give them their credit where due. They are both great Quarterbacks who have potential to have good NFL careers.

You don't just go and draft a quarterback No. 1, pay him $30 million or whatever the stupid salaries for rookies are these days, and then have him start for your team without proving anything.

Sure, Stafford and Sanchez might have had great college careers, but you got to prove something in the NFL first, it's a little different than playing against Washington and Vanderbilt's defenses.  

Daunte has proven that he can be successful in the NFL, most notably from 1999-2005 in Minnesota having numerous TD passes to Randy Moss, also the Lions have hired Scott Linehan to run the offense Culpepper has had a lot of success with him.

The Lions also happen to have another Randy Moss most likely in the works, he is known as Calvin Johnson look him up on YouTube.

Matthew Stafford has proven that he won four SEC titles...oh wait. Mark Sanchez was a three-year start....one-year starter.

And Sanchez thinks after starting one year against sub-par Pac10 defenses, and having only one noticeably highlight worthy game against Penn State in the Rose Bowl, he thinks he has what it takes to be successful in the NFL? We'll see.

"Defense wins championships" that is a commonly know phrase or quote throughout the NFL and other sports.

Past NFL Super Bowl champions have had notably great defenses, Pittsburgh last year and in 2006, New England with their 3 Super Bowl championships within this decade, The 85' Bears, Tampa Bay in 2003, and of course Baltimore in 2000.

Only New England with Tom Brady has a "Superstar Quarterback", and possibly Pittsburgh with Ben Roethlisberger as an up and coming Quarterback in the NFL.

Trent Dilfer was Baltimore's Quarterback during their Super Bowl run, he didn't have the most star power or marketability like a Brady or Roethlisberger, but he was a veteran of the game and knew how to get the job done when he had to as did Brad Johnson.

Yes, all those Quarterbacks won championships, but Daunte Culpepper has been in the NFC title game, he led the Vikes that far who knows what he could do with more talent around him in Detroit.

I'm a 100 percent believer in the defense wins championships motto, "Offense brings the crowds defense wins the games" another good quote.

Last year's Pittsburgh team didn't have a high-powered offense, they were 20th in total offense and had just about 21 points per game. But their offense got their points when they needed them, and the defense made sure they got that football back for them.

Pittsburgh was first in total defense last year allowing only 13.9 points per game. The 2007 Super Bowl Champion Giants weren't high in the stat column for defense, but they absolutely dominated the line of scrimmage putting Mr. Brady on his back about 5-6 times.

The point is you don't need to have a bunch of superstars and 1st round draft picks on your offense to be successful, you have to have proven guys in the NFL who are gonna get the job done.      

Yes, Culpepper may be 32 years old while Stafford and Sanchez are 21 and 22 years old respectively. When you play football you develop and uncanny love for the game, one dictionary definition says "being beyond what is normal or expected."

I heard a speech one about leadership and the speaker had a PowerPoint slide, about the six characteristics of a great leader and one of them was enthusiasm.

Ever since the day Daunte Culpepper has played football, he has displayed great enthusiasm, he's wanted to win his whole life, he'll do anything to try and to be successful even when the odds are against him, like trying to learn a playbook in five days and then go out and play a game. I have yet to see any enthusiasm from Mr. Stafford.

Daunte's teammates believe in him and according to local reports Culpepper has been working his tail off in the off-season.

Give him a full off-season, minicamp, and hopefully an intense training camp, he should have the playbook down pat. He hasn't done much talking during the offseason, he let his work and dedication to the team do the talking like the true professional he is.

"A true leader visualizes success, pushes himself and others toward the goal and makes it happen."

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