by Stuart Zaas
With Matthew Stafford nursing a left shoulder injury, Head Coach Jim Schwartz announced today that Daunte Culpepper will make his third start of the season this Sunday at Baltimore.
Culpepper filled in for an injured Stafford in starts against Pittsburgh and at Green Bay, completing 29-of-51 attempts for 330 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
Normally, Schwartz is tight-lipped when it comes to injuries but in this case he decided that it was best to announce the change before gametime.
Schwartz: “We had a pretty good idea on Monday that this is how it was going to be. Actually, on Monday I told both Daunte and Matt on that this was going to happen – just for their ability to prepare and go forward.
“Competitively, with Baltimore playing a Monday night game and from a preparation standpoint I thought was important to hold it until today but I think the potential benefits to announcing it outweigh the benefits of withholding it.”
Culpepper knows that, as the Lions’ No. 2 quarterback, it’s important to be ready to start every week no matter what the status of the starter is.
He has appeared in four games this season, twice as a starter and twice entering the game after Stafford was forced out with an injury.
Culpepper: “It feels great, but the thing is, I get paid to be ready whenever, and I’m ready now. We’ve got a great work week ahead of us, a great opportunity to play a great game. When you’ve got an opportunity, you’ve got to take a hold of that and grab it and go with it.
“I’m very excited about the chance to go out and play against a great football team, a defense that over the years has been nothing less than great, and it’s going to be great. I’m looking forward to it.”
Stafford originally injured his left shoulder in the dramatic comeback victory over Cleveland and then re-aggravated it as he was hit in the fourth quarter at Cincinnati. While there is no structural damage to his shoulder, Schwartz decided it was best to let Stafford rest as opposed to playing through the pain.
Schwartz: “We want to avoid the situation where it becomes something chronic. Structurally, everything is still on course there, (but) it’s a tremendous amount of pain, it’s sore and we just wanted to avoid a continuing cycle of come back, get hit, come back, get hit. We’ll give it time to rest and put it behind him.”
Tags: Jim Schwartz, Matthew Stafford
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