Orlovsky wants to start; What's it mean for Stanton?
It looks like Dan Orlovsky will start at quarterback Sunday against Indianapolis, though in the individual period of Wednesday's practice reporters were allowed to watch his fractured right thumb did not appear fully healed.
Orlovsky, who took 60 percent of the reps in team drills Drew Stanton and Drew Henson split the rest was not crisp with his throws and often shook his hand or looked down at his digit after misfiring a pass. When a reporter suggested that Orlovsky winced on his first throwing attempt, the quarterback said, I think you read me incorrectly.
I haven't really thrown in six weeks now so it's really just getting back into the swing of that, he said. Grip wasn't an issue for me, it was just getting back into the swing of throwing routes on time and hitting spots. I was pretty hard on myself when I was out there throwing, but overall I thought it went well.
Last week, doctors told Orlovsky he'd likely miss the rest of the season with the injury (two fractures and ligament damage) he suffered Nov. 2 at Chicago. With starter Daunte Culpepper hurt he sprained his shoulder on the second-to-last play of last week's loss to Minnesota and the Lions (0-13) cruising towards NFL infamy, that timetable apparently changed.
Culpepper probably won't be available against the Colts, and Lions coach Rod Marinelli said he wants to give Sunday's starter the bulk of the reps in practice Thursday. Unless he wakes up with a swollen hand, that's sure to be Orlovsky.
In a broader sense, I wonder what this means for Stanton. Not that I think Indianapolis is the best place for a young quarterback to make his first NFL start, but I'd like to see last year's second-round pick on the field.
I've written this before, but the Lions are approaching their biggest offseason in recent memory and need to see what they have in Stanton. It's obvious how the current regime feels. I'm not talking about them. But the future decision-makers of the organization, assuming William Clay Ford cleans house, will enter April's draft with the No. 1 pick and no film on the only quarterback on their roster that matters. (We can all agree Culpepper's best days are behind him, ditto Jon Kitna, Orlovsky is a pending a free agent and Henson is just as raw and a few years older than Stanton.)
No one knows how good or bad Stanton can be. He's barely taken reps in practice and he's played, essentially, a quarter of an NFL game. It'd be dangerous to write him off this early and draft a quarterback (Matt Stafford or Sam Bradford) No. 1 overall, and just as dangerous for a new management team to come in, rely on their draft notes from a few years back, and believe Stanton has a future with the Lions when those same potential franchise signal callers are available. In order to take a full inventory of his talents, Stanton needs to play.
Unfortunately, the only way that's going to happen now is by ownership decree, and with the Lions screaming towards 0-16 that's about as likely as a win this week. But I wonder, for the sake of the franchise, if that's the right decision.