Linehan on Culpepper, Stanton
New Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said Wednesday he received a welcome-to-Detroit text message from Daunte Culpepper last week and will meet with his former (and possibly future) quarterback in the coming days.
I had a great, great experience with him that was three, four years ago now and things change, Linehan said. But my respect for his ability, I've seen it first hand and think the world of him.
Culpepper had three of his most productive NFL seasons in Minnesota when Linehan was his offensive coordinator. In 2004, their last year working together, Culpepper set career-highs with 4,717 yards passing and 39 touchdowns. He has not played a full season since.
Linehan said he's just begun evaluating film of every player from last year I believe I've seen four (quarterbacks) at this point, I haven't seen five, he said and won't make a decision on who starts next year until before we open up the regular season.
Asked if he wanted Culpepper back next season, Linehan said,I would love to have every player back that they want to keep back on this team. I love Daunte and I got a great relationship with him, but again it's too early to make any assessments or jump to any conclusions as to what we're doing because we haven't gone through the evaluation process.
Linehan said he's talked with every quarterback on the roster but free-agent-to-be Dan Orlovsky, who hasn't spoken with anyone from the organization since the end of the season.
As for Stanton, who played under one of Linehan's mentors John L. Smith at Michigan State, Linehan said he remembers him as a high-upside guy coming out of college. Talking about quarterbacks in general, Linehan also described some of the off-the-field qualities that endeared Stanton to the Lions' former regime.
I think most people don't give enough credence to the intangible qualities, Linehan said. Everybody wants to look at the strong arm, the height, weight, speed, all that. Those are pretty important. I think the makeup of the quarterback has to be a guy that changes the room when he walks into it, has to be a guy that immediately has this glow about him and affects the team in a positive way. You see the great quarterbacks in this game, they are the face of the franchise whether they like it or not. That's what comes with this position, so that guy has to have special intangibles.