Rookie Matthew Stafford re-injured the left, non-throwing shoulder that he separated against the Cleveland Browns on Nov. 22. But despite the injury and the presence of a healthy Daunte Culpepper on the roster, Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz reiterated his stance on keeping secret his starting quarterback for Sunday's game against the Ravens.
Asked during a conference call this morning whether the decision to refrain from revealing the starter is a way to stymie the Ravens defense's game planning, Schwartz, a Baltimore native and Mount St. Joseph graduate, replied, "Yeah, maybe a little bit. They played a Monday night game, so obviously a lot of our preparation for the game was done before they left for Green Bay. They come back, and they're on a short week. So there's a little bit of that there. And there's also needing to evaluate. You guys had Steve McNair there and we had him in Tennessee, and a lot of times, you didn't know [until] late in the week, where he was going to be health-wise. Injuries are a fact of life in the NFL, and each one is a little different case. Sometimes you may close your mind too early to a player, and sometimes maybe it's warranted. I think every case is individual."
Schwartz acknowledged that there is some consideration to giving Stafford a week to rest and starting Culpepper instead.
"Our criteria for players playing – whether it's been quarterback or any other position – is number one, do they have an injury that can be made worse? If they do, then it's our decision to sit that player," Schwartz said. "And number two, if they have an injury that can't be made worse by a pain-tolerance thing, you have to look at, can that player be effective? Maybe a guy has an ankle and there's no danger in it getting hurt worse, but it's painful and his mobility is limited. Well then, are you better off with a guy who's full speed in there rather than a guy who's limited? So all that stuff will go into it. Matt's a really, really tough guy. He's taken a couple of wicked hits on his non-throwing shoulder. But anybody that's thrown a baseball, football, anything knows that your left shoulder has something to do with your throwing motion. Your left shoulder sort of snaps when you open up to throw. So it does affect things. We'll make that decision as we go through this week and see where he is and how well he's doing in practice."